"alternative poster... looks good on the huge billboard in Luton"
Dir. Eli Roth
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Welcome to Bratislava, you’ll love the mix of ancient and industrial scenery, you’ll marvel at how ‘friendly’ our beautiful women are, you’ll probably never leave, not in one piece at least…
Maybe I’m just a jaded Brit but it seems to me that American backpackers aren’t what they were back in 1981 when a gruesome hairy fate awaited the basically nice but dim yanks in An American Werewolf in London. These days the hero backpacking ‘jocks’ are initially harder to like – until that is they come up against such unbelievably evil monsters that from then on you really have no choice…
Hostel at heart is a extremely brutal morality tale, if you mix the idea of a secret backpacking nirvana from The Beach, add the creeping unease that all is not what it seems from The Wicker Man and then mix liberally with insanely explicit violence of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre variety, you’ll have some idea of what to expect.
Director Eli ‘Cabin Fever’ Roth isn’t one to hold back on the gore and Hostel has scenes that will shock, repulse and make you question the fact that people pay money to watch this sort of thing… But people it seems will pay money to do a lot of questionable things and in Bratislava that can mean having your own teenage backpacker stripped and handcuffed to a chair in a torture dungeon that only one of you will be leaving alive… Yes this is urban myth nightmare snuff territory and the audience get front row seats at the graphic carnage that ensues.
But that’s the second half of the film, before then you get a soft porn road trip as the American visitors enjoy 24hour drugs, sex and booze – euro style. At one point U.S. jock A - Josh (played by Derek Richardson) asks his incredulous travelling companions "Did we come all the way to Europe just to smoke pot? " to which his " wacky Icelandic buddy Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) says "Hey, I came all the way from Iceland". The third of this ill fated travel party is U.S. jock B - Paxton (Jay Hernandez) who is the one tasked with trying to restore some kind of balance to the plot in the final act. But dislike them as you may, you will feel their pain when they find themselves in the slaughterhouse. This is audacious, perverse, highly grim, splatter cinema, certainly not for everyone. Oh, and you pay double for an American…
Darkmatt Rating: öööö (freaky grim horror for sure - but if that's what you're looking for, this delivers)
"someone call for a hacking by horned maniac?"
"and of course the obligatory babe... Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova)"
Darkmatters: H O ME