Sunday, January 5, 2014
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.