#129 -- Hostel (2005)

Director: Eli Roth
Rating: 4/5

This came out a year after Saw started, so you can't really help but think it was inspired by it. It's essentially the same, but in ways very different. Where Saw has kind of a moral of sorts, Hostel is just a bunch of senseless violence--but hey! We all love senseless violence, don't we? It's about a country in Europe--Bratslava, I think--that specializes in hunting humans. People pay to have foreigners captured and tortured, for reasons unknown to me. One man ranted about the thrill of torturing people, so I guess maybe they just did it for shits and giggles. Everyone in town is in on this little game, it seems. Our main characters meet a guy in Amsterdam who tells them to go to a Hostel in Bratslava, where the girls love Americans and will jump their bones when they hear their accents. When they arrive, the girls are certainly willing to please the guys in any way they want. But of course, things go south pretty quickly (and not in the good way). One of the guys, Oli, disappears. The Hostel workers claim that he checked out, though his friends aren't sure that he'd leave without saying anything. They never realize that Oli is actually dead. Soon enough, another one of the guys also disappears. He's taken down to the torture chamber warehouse place. I think the place was underground, though I can't quite be sure. We see more of his torture than any other, and it's pretty graphic. He gets holes drilled into his knees, and his Achilles tendons slashed. After having the tendons slashed, his torturer tells him he's free to go. He tries in vain to exit the chamber, and ends up dead, dead, dead. After a series of lucky events, our last remaining character manages to get out of the underground torture chamber. He's seconds away from escape when he hears a friend from the hostel (a Japanese girl) screaming. He decides to be a hero and goes back in to save her. She's busy having her face burned with a blowtorch. After killing her torturer, he wants to help lessen her pain. Since one of her eyeballs is hanging a little loose, he cuts it off for her, and some gross yellow goo oozes out. Maybe I'm getting a little too much into detail, but I'm all about gross-outs. There were a couple of parts that really would have gotten me freaking out if they'd shown them in all their glory--like the knee-drills and slashed Achilles tendons. But I love it when a movie can make me cringe; I love it when something has an effect on me in any way. Anyways, Hero and Japanese Girl make it to the train station. When she sees her reflection, she opts for a Hara-Kiri rather than actually make it to safety. So Hero has to make it the rest of the way on his own, and maybe seek a little revenge along the way.

Most of the time, I complain when a movie doesn't have enough story, or explanation as to why things are happening. But in Hostel, it works for me. Things are what they are, and they actually don't really need any explanation. The guys are in Europe, which I think was effective. Most Americans don't really know much about Europe, so it makes it a bit exotic. It also allows us to maybe believe that crazy shit like this actually happens there. Plus, hot European chicks? Yes, please. Senseless violence and torture without reason can grant entertainment to some people. It is not a mind-blowing experience; it is not thought-provoking; it is not life altering. But who cares? Not all horror has to be deep and meaningful, or artsy fartsy, or whatever else all the critics love. It's meant to entertain, and Hostel does just that. It's interesting, and it appeals to gore whores like myself. I think movies like this are called torture porn, which sounds like my kind of movie. So if you're a freak like me, and you want to watch people being put through unimaginable amounts of pain for no apparent reason--check out Hostel.

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