Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hostel (2005)

I've had an Amazon Prime membership for several years now, which I use mostly for the free shipping.  A while back, they introduced the Amazon Prime Streaming Video Library, which, if you already have streaming Netflix, is actually pretty useless.  However, while browsing for some free workout videos, I was fucking delighted to find that they are streaming Hostel, which for some reason, I have never reviewed.

I remember when this movie first came out, in the early days of torture porn, when the sub-genre was all fresh and new and exciting.  Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth were a lethal combination and Hostel was the movie that everyone was talking about.  Of course, it was notorious that two people had to leave the premiere in ambulance due to being so affected by the torture scenes.

I love to travel, and I adore horror movies about wanderlust gone wrong.  I never did the whole traveling around Europe thing, and I've never stayed in a hostel, but I just love the concept of this movie.  In case you've lived on Mars for the last decade of horror, Hostel is about a couple of Americans (Josh and Paxton) and their Icelandic friend Oli, who are hanging out in Amsterdam when they hear about an area (and corresponding hostel) in Slovakia which is apparently overrun with beautiful women.  Of course, they head there immediately without question.

Upon arrival, they find the hostel is too good to be true.  They are sharing a room with two gorgeous girls, and the place comes equipped with a giant spa filled with topless women.  They party with the girls, and declare the excursion a success.  However, they can't seem to find Oli, and become increasingly worried throughout the day.  But in the end, they decide to go to the disco with the girls anyway, since they are taking off for Barcelona the next day.

But of course, by this time they realize that the hostel is literally too good to be true, and is actually a cover for a crazy operation where rich people can pay to torture and kill people.  As you would guess, to do this to an American is actually the most expensive.  The blood and gore in this flick is cringe-inducing, and holds up well, even well after torture porn wore itself out.

There are lots of feelings you get from watching horror movies, but one of my favorite ones is the "trapped in the open" vibe.  When any of the characters are wandering around looking for their friends (prior to being in the warehouse), it's not like they're locked in a physical tight space, but trapped all the same.

There are several striking/chilling moments in this movie (SPOILERS!): when Paxton speaks German in the warehouse, when the girls are in the pub with no makeup on, when the Achilles tendon gets sliced, hiding in the cart of dead bodies, and the dangling eye OMG THE EYE.  I also distinctly remember cheering in the theater when Natalya, Svetland, and Alex got their due.  In a genre where things get old in an instant, Hostel holds up well as a horror classic.  

The Following - Season 1

Holy crap, it's been a long time since I've checked in with my blog.  Due to work and some personal life issues, I have had very little time and energy to devote to writing.  I just returned from a little getaway in Antigua, and I feel refreshed and ready to start actually forming sentences.  We returned from Antigua on the day of Winter Storm Hercules, and we were actually one of the last flights to get back into Newark before everyone was snowed in.  Therefore, Scream King and I decided to spend the weekend being hermits, and just relaxing and getting ready for the work week ahead.

I suggested that we check out The Following, which had been recommended to me on a few different "best of 2013" and "new to Netflix" posts, as well as my sister, who said that she and her husband had been watching.  We only planned on viewing an episode or two, but ended up binge-watching the entire season in 24 hours.  This show is highly addicting, and I am dying to see the premiere of season 2, which is only a few short weeks away.

So a serial killer, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) escapes from death row, prompting the FBI to call in the retired agent who previously caught him, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon).  But as it turns out, the escape also involves an entire murderous cult that is ready to do Carroll's bidding and help him stay hidden along the way.  His connections run deep, and seem to involve more complete psychos at every turn.  This is all linked into the works of Edgar Allen Poe, with whom Carroll is fairly obsessed.

The series also includes other recognizable stars such as Natalie Zea, who plays Carroll's ex-wife, and Shawn Ashmore (drool) who plays a younger FBI agent who somewhat idolizes Ryan.  I don't want to give any spoilers in this post, since there is still tons of time to watch this on Netflix instant before Season 2 premieres.  However, I do think I'll do spoiler-filled recaps/commentaries once the new season starts.  Happy watching!!