‘Hostel’ is an exercise in torture for viewers

Ryan Haidet

Derek Richardson, left, and Jay Hernandez star in the latest horror flick from Lions Gate, Hostel.

Credit: Steve Schirra

As the lights came down, the theater nearly sold out, the torture began.

Eli Roth, director of Cabin Fever (2002), gets behind the camera to show the sexual adventures of two American backpackers and one Icelandic sex-fiend whom they met along the way.

These three young men begin looking for all of the best women to sleep with, and they are told about a certain place where the women are the best.

After finding this place, the men enjoy all of the women they can, and it lands them into the halls of a building filled with torture-crazed people.

The incredibly graphic torture scenes include slashing of Achilles tendons, drilling holes in chests, cutting fingers off with a chain saw and the most disgusting – eyeballs and scissors.

While humorous and frightening at times, the problem with Hostel is it tries to be three different movies compiled into a 95 minute tortuous ride. It starts out as a party movie where the audience joins in on the sex and club hopping. Hostel feels like a soft-core porno at times due to the massive quantities of nude people. Without any sort of transition, the torture simply begins without any sort of warning – it doesn’t work.

Although the torture scenes are hard to watch, the characters weren’t charismatic enough for me to care about what was happening to them. The worst part of the torture scenes was the torture, not to whom it was happening. By casting mostly unknown actors (with the exception of Jay Hernandez who has been seen in Friday Night Lights and Ladder 49), Roth is trying to make us care about these people because we have never really seen them before. However, after getting to know the characters in the first hour, it’s hard to care about them at all.


Starring Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson

Written and directed by Eli Roth

Distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment

Rated R for brutal scenes of torture and violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use

Stater rating (out of five): * * *

There are other ridiculous concepts in this movie that make it far less believable, including children who literally bash people’s heads in for candy and gum. I had some gum in my pocket – too bad those kids weren’t at the theater during parts of the movie to put me out of my misery.

Another is when two of the main characters disappear and don’t answer their phones. The remaining backƒ_”packer is led to believe by others that his friends are at an art exhibit. Convinced, he agrees to go to the art show and enters a building that looks like it has been abandoned for years. Yeah, right.

Hostel shares similarities with Saw, in that they both have jaw-dropping moments and surprising plot twists, but Saw puts Hostel to shame. The twists in Hostel are far too predictable and disappointing.

When all the torture is over, the credits roll and the confusion about who made the movie (Roth, as opposed to Quentin Tarentino) is resolved, Hostel delivers a decently disgusting ending to a hard-to-believe film.

Contact ALL correspondent Ryan Haidet at [email protected].