USA / English
"Welcome To Your Worst Nightmare "Three backpackers head to a Slovakian city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.
Appalling (for all the wrong reasons)
Let me begin by stating that I am a huge horror fan, and have enjoyed
horror films from the length and breadth of cinema, from Carl Dreyer to
Lucio Fulci, from George Romero to Andy Milligan. I'm not squeamish
(I'm a big Takashi Miike fan) and love the kind of down and dirty no
budget horror (Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) from which Eli Roth
takes his cue. I'd seen and disliked Cabin Fever (outrageously
derivative, poorly acted, very dull) but was willing to give Roth
another chance. Silly me.
Hostel is a badly written, badly directed, terribly shot and
(considering the content) remarkably dull and conservative horror film.
The central premise (backpacking Americans find themselves in gruesome
trouble in Eastern Europe) is severely underwritten, and the viewer
gets the impression that Roth had to write about an hour of filler to
accompany the thirty minutes of gruesome scenes he had in mind. This
ninety minute film takes, believe it or not, forty five minutes to
actually establish some kind of plot or drive. Worse, Roth isn't even a
good director of horror - an important early visual reveal, intended to
let viewers know what they're in for, is just thrown away, leaving
instead unpleasantness for unpleasantness' sake.
Indeed, the film is never remotely scary, focusing instead on
fetishised (and in some cases, extremely poor) gore make up effects.
One 'eye injury' effect in particular would embarrass Lucio Fulci, and
he was making horrors thirty years ago, with a fraction of Roth's
budget. What's more, there are uncomfortable overtones of racism and
homophobia, like the gritty earnestness of low budget 70s horror
injected with a moronic frat-boy stupidity.
So to recap: not scary, frequently very dull, racist, and (for gore
afficionados) not nearly as gruesome as the advertising would have you
believe. If you've seen virtually any Takashi Miike film (especially
the uncut Ichi The Killer) this will look very tame in comparison.
Absolute garbage. Don't waste your time.
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