Don't be fooled by Hostel's twentysomething characters and their vernacularthis film is downright nasty. And if you're looking for that fail-safe post-holiday diet, you've come to the right theater Vegetarianism makes a whole lotta sense after this one.
When Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) go to Amsterdam, they find that marijuana alone will not quench their hedonistic thirstthere aren't enough girls for them. At the suggestion of a local, they head to Slovakia, where, the local promises, girls will flow freely, tending to their every desire. The promise is fulfilled as sex-starved seductresses teem in the area hostel, but they give new meaning to the term femme fatale. The girls provide sex for cheap in this Slovakian hostel, but that's only because sex isn't how the girls make a living; they prefer instead to partake in the region's burgeoning and lucrative trade industry. Was it a hostel of depravity? Sure, but not quite the brand the guys were seeking.
The only way a gruesome gore-fest like Hostel works is if the actors make it believable. Here, the actors' performances are likely to go unnoticed, but not unappreciated for that reason. It can't be stressed enough the range an actor needs to possess to be macho and frightened in the same movie. Hernandez (crazy/beautiful) possesses such range. He throws in "dude" and "bro" almost more than is healthy, but when in trouble, he abandons diction almost altogether and wears the fear on his face, and wears it credibly. Richardson, as Paxton's shy friend, evokes the same level of imminent doom when it's his turn. Rick Hoffman also turns in a stirring cameo as a fast-talking, uh, surgeon.
After the hit Cabin Fever and now Hostel, the cult status of director Eli Roth might grow into something bigand so will his wallet. Roth pays homage to a number of gore classics while also asserting his own style. He genuinely makes us feel like unwelcome guests in his house of horrors who can't help but peeking at what lies behind each door, even at the risk of blind. The story is ultimately no different than what we've seen before but Roth's scare tactics are currently second to none. The end result is the visual equivalent of nails on the chalkboard. Hostel "presenter" and executive producer Quentin Tarantino will definitely not be the last sadist to fall for this frightening film.
Hollywood.com rated this film 3 stars.