Monday, January 09, 2006

Hostel

Review by Michael Jaffe

In Eli Roth’s latest film, Hostel, I finally remembered why I love movies more than food. After sitting through countless hours of beautiful but slow stuff and films, like American-Pie: Band Camp, that insult my intelligence, this film comes through with dialogue and a plot that made me laugh and gasp. The plot is basic; a couple guys looking for sex wind up in Slovakia at a hostel where they expect to find the best women in Europe, but instead find an art show where you can pay to torture poor unsuspecting people. That is almost as straightforward as it gets, but what kept me looking was the bodies. I mean this in two basic senses: the gorgeous, living women and the dismembered dead ones. For anyone who saw the cool gore fest that was Cabin Fever, this is what could be expected but in both aspects Eli Roth goes above and beyond the call of duty. The movie isn’t very long, but in the first 30 minutes of the film about, there is an average of 2 boobs per minute on the screen, which I can appreciate. And in the last 30 minutes there is an average of something getting chopped off at about a part per minute. For those of you who are wondering what happens in the middle 30 minutes, the plot is kind of a sneaky mystery where you can’t help but feel an impending sense of dread about what will happen to these guys.
The direction of Hostel is shinning and damn near pitch perfect on every level as Roth shows an ability to get some humor in while also knowing when to spray the blood. I can’t wait to see what this guy does with a real budget over 5 million as he showed impressive growth from his first to his second film. He also picks his actors well as Jay Hernandez, long an ensemble member shines through in this film. Even Derek Richardson from Dumb and Dumberer conveys the nervousness and eventually terror of his character with pathos I wouldn’t normally expect from such a young actor. The comic relief is the Icelandic friend Oli, played with a goofy zest by investment banker Eythor Gudjonsson, who has no previous experience and got the job by talking to Eli Roth at a press junket.
For people with strong stomachs, the gore will not surprise, but for majority of people used to the PG-13 violence of late, this film’s intense scenes will likely make you queasy. The film as a whole is a little shallow but is supurb in almost every aspect. 8.5/10

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