By Vic Holtreman
Short version: Horror, nudity and gore reminiscent of early 1980’s horror films, but with a stronger story.
Be warned: If you are not a fan of movies that splash gore, body parts and guts across the screen, Hostel is most definitely not for you. Hostel is rated “R” and for damn good reasons.
When I review movies, depending on the film, I sometimes try to judge a movie not only from a general perspective, but when applicable also as it fits into a specific genre. As a horror movie, I think Hostel achieves it’s goal of, well, horrifying the audience and it gets points for going in a different direction than I expected from the trailer and commercials. On a broader scale it wasn’t too bad either.
As the film opens we’re introduced to Paxton and Josh, a couple of guys backpacking around Europe before heading back to the States to start a mundane existence consisting of attending Law School. They’re accompanied by a drifter that has joined them at some point who is a Czech and thus more familiar with where they are travelling, acting as a part-time interpreter and all around clown. They’re all portrayed basically as walking erections, looking for places where they can sow their oats. They’re in Amsterdam, apparently the right place considering what they’re looking for.
Josh comes across as almost having morals, not wanting to pay for sex, but more than happy to search for a one night stand with whatever hot looking woman comes his way (as long as he doesn’t have to pay for it). Really he seems to be succumbing to peer pressure from his two buddies and he’s the classic “good guy” in a horror flick ensemble.
Paxton is a total horn-dog as is Oli, the drifter. Eventually they come across a dude that looks like a junkie who knows of a place in Slovakia where the women far outnumber the men and the majority of them look like supermodels. So, off goes our trio by train on their quest.
While on the train, they meet a creepy Danish businessman, who makes a pass at Josh, who naturally freaks out. Once they arrive, they find the dreaded hostel, which of course doesn’t look dreadful at all. As soon as they arrive they think they’ve hit the jackpot as they’re invited to join a couple of beautiful (and topless) women at the hostel’s spa. Small talk follows, they all end up at a nightclub and they all end up in bed. There is a lot of nudity in Hostel, and although it fits the plot, there’s more than necessary if you ask me, with the overall effect almost feeling like a porn film has been intercut with the main one.
Anyway, first one guy vanishes and then another and we end up with our main protagonist in a really bad jam. I don’t want to say much more about the story in case you see the movie, but I found it very tense and gripping.
I compared this to the heyday of horror movies back in the early 1980’s because that’s what kept coming to mind. Movies like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, with all the gore, female nudity and deaths of sexually immoral characters. The generation of horror films that came after, like I Know What You Did Last Summer and the like were but a pale reflection of those early 80’s flicks.
Again, if you’re not a fan of this sort of movie, don’t even bother because once it starts down the gore path, it gets pretty intense and parts of it are really hard to watch (moreso than the recent Saw movies in my opinion). However, if horror in the vein (sorry, couldn’t help myself) of those movies mentioned above is up your alley, then I’d say this is for you.