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Hostel (2005)
Writer and director: Eli Roth

review by Eric Turowski

As a poor, boring and ugly American, I've never been to Europe. If Hostel is what it's all about, I'll stay in the 'States, thanks.

Paxton, Josh and Oli (James Hernandez, Derek Richardson and Eythor Gudjonsson, respectively), are touring the continent and looking for hot chicks, dope and adventure. In Amsterdam, they find a lot of this. Josh, a straitlaced, all-American kid, isn't particularly interested in prostitutes. Chastised, he promises to get laid in Europe. When they are locked out of their Amsterdam hostel by curfew, our three heroes - two Americans and one Icelander (if you can't figure it out by the names...) - learn of a hostel in Slovakia where the women are beautiful, sex-crazed, and into American men. Why Oli goes along - well, he's just Oli. And while gorgeous women are interesting to look at, the audience is tortured by nearly an hour of the set-up.

On the train to Bratislava, Slovakia, they meet up with a twitchy Dutch businessman (Jan Vlasák) who appears to make homosexual advances toward Josh. Josh is just not having a good time in Europe. But once in Bratislava, things pick up - both for the guys and the viewers. Josh and Paxton end up with hot roomies Svetlana and Natalya (Jana Kaderabkova and Barbara Nedeljakova, respectively), who want to party, dance and have sex a lot. Josh meets the Dutch businessman in a club, who tells Josh he always wanted to be a surgeon (foreshadowing). The two make amends, but the girls want to party, dance and have sex a lot. And so it goes.

And then Oli disappears. And while Oli's just Oli, a man wearing Oli's jacket is spotted near the hostel. More sex and partying ensue. At the disco, Josh gets sick and begs off. Paxton gets sick, too, but he ends up accidentally locked in the club's storage room. He awakens, returns to the hostel, and finds that Josh has also disappeared. Good ole', straight-laced Josh gone with no note. Uh-oh.

Josh, meanwhile, wakes up, tied to a chair in a dark room, and finds the Dutch businessman preparing to torture him with power tools, etc. Josh tries to bribe the man out of torture, but the Dutch man says he's already paid for this particular pleasure. Things get gruesome. Paxton begins his search for Josh, and learns that another hostel guest, a Japanese woman, has also lost her roommate.

Much more plot ensues; Paxton gets his cell phone stolen by a gang of kids; he meets two more hottie roommates who seem to be reading from the same script as Svetlana and Natalya; Svetlana leads Paxton to an abandoned factory where the 'art exhibit' is going on; Paxton gets the chair treatment; mayhem follows - fingers are lopped, eyeballs hang, blood flies; chainsaws, guns, pliers, and scissors are employed; the cops are in on it; revenge of the gang of kids; German is spoken, etc.

Hostel is a slow moving train, but once you get on, there's no getting off. Loads of sexy chicks, absolutely gruesome scenes, and an outright permeable atmosphere of hopelessness and doom propel this baby right to the gut. Based on a true story (and I heard in an interview with Roth that the only truth behind the story was that there was a website where you could order torture du jour), this one - aside from the slow start - is a winner. Predictable? Sure. But after a while, you can't peel your eyes off this train wreck.
Hostel - uncut on DVD

Hostel - headless poster

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