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Directed by Eli Roth ("Cabin Fever").
Written by Eli Roth.
Starring Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson and a shitload of tits.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  1/21/06


Even with the Quentin Tarantino name slapped on the marketing campaign for the new horror film "Hostel" and an unbelievable amount of breast shots featured within, the flick scores almost no points for what normally makes a bloody slasher flick fun for me and in the process makes the much-hyped film as bad as any other run-of-the-mill kill flick out there.

"Hostel" does have a couple things going for it, though--a couple of cool, nasty kills and just about the strangest, nastiest eyeball extraction scene in memory.  Oh, and a couple of decent female chest shots amidst literally a hundred gratuitous nude scenes.

Three guys--two Americans (Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson) and a vaguely Norwegian guy named Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson)--are traveling through Europe club-hopping when they meet a guy in Amsterdam that knows of this mystical, magical place where damn near the hottest women in the world seem to all be having threesomes and moresomes--Slovakia.  Sold on about a dozen digital stills from this wise man's camera, the three guys head off to Slovakia, crash out at what seems like a small Slovakian town's only hostel and proceed to get into a shitload of trouble after meeting some more hot women at said hostel.  Blood and dismemberment ensue.

Eli Roth, who directed the so-so "Cabin Fever" a few years ago, literally goes for the jugular during the film's second half, as we are treated to a place where people seem to keep going and from which they never return.  Going out of his way to give us sequences of innocent foreigners being killed off by paying "customers" (people can pay a fee to do anything in this world, I guess), Roth gives us people assaulted by blowtorch, weed cutters, chainsaw, handgun and scalpel...thankfully, much of it is done in shadowy darkness.  But, the kills didn't effect me the way they should have, I thought, because we never really get one static bad guy or killer that necessarily hates these innocent people.  It's just a business, and that makes the kills very one-note, very unsympathetic...part of me was saying "dumb foreigners--this is what you get for taking a train to Slovakia to get laid" while watching guys and gals get their toes cut off.

There is no star power, there are no great performances, even though one of the paying customers we meet near the end really does seem to go for broke in expressing his passion for spending $25,000 on killing somebody he doesn't know; there are a couple of funny moments as the guys tour Amsterdam, but otherwise, there's nothing funny about this business until the end, when one of the guys gets wise to what's going on and proceeds to go after the people that set him up in the first place.  But, that's really it--it's a soulless slasher, one that doesn't meet the hype and never really scares you, unless you get it in your mind that getting stuck in a quasi-prison in the middle of nowhere really IS a frightening endeavor.

But if you like nudity, especially gratuitous breast shots, "Hostel" might be for you.  Might.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09