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3.2 out of 5 stars
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3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2006
Whereas I appreciate Eli Roth's enthusiasm for the horror genre, it's hard to tell quite who he's aiming this movie at.

My love of horror ranges from films such as the original Omen, Rosemary's Baby to films such as Suspiria and The Beyond to the asian flicks of recent years. I can also appreciate a good gore-fest or unsettling film when in the mood and love films like Zombie Flesh Eaters and the Romero classics.

It would appear this film is aimed at fans of the latter which I have no problem with. However.....if you're going to make that kind of film, you have to go balls out from the beginning and not relent up. Sadly, only one or two real scenes of menace and shock just aren't going to satisfy those fans who have watched those films of the 70's and 80's of which Roth is clearly a huge fan of.

This film suffers mainly from the poor and almost amateurish first 30-40mins. Despite a promising opening credit sequence, the lack of any real action really hinders the pace.

When the atmosphere and dread does arrive, it almost comes as a sense of relief to finally have something happen! and in the already infamous 'eye' scene, a cult scene for the future is born - much like the 'leg shaving' scene in Roth's 'Cabin Fever.' Horror fans may also notice the odd homage along the way, including a fave of mine 'Don't Look Now'

Overall, 3 /5 is a fair mark, when it's good, it's great, but there's just not enough of it. I would still much rather watch this film, then have to sit through another horror remake or film blatantly aimed at the teen market.

I listened to the commentaries on the Region 1 dvd and they are good, not great, but do give a few insights and it's good to hear genuine enthusiasm for the genre.

Here's hoping with the sequel that Roth really cuts loose (and a few more limbs)....
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on 1 May 2006
I saw it on big screen and I was shocked.Normaly I like sick flicks like SAW or SEVEN and I've seen a lot of gore or violent movies and it doesn't bother me much.But after HOSTEL I had real problems to fall asleep.Not because of the ultraviolent sadistic torture,but the idea of the story made me absolutely shakey.Organized russian mafia actually sell people to rich men so they can do with them whatever they want.The plot is really simple but watch it.I guarantee this movie will take your breath away!Can't wait for the UK-DVD release.
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Three horny male backpackers travel to Slovakia and check into a Hostel that is awash with sexy European ladies. What starts out as a dream comes true will quickly turn into a nightmare.

Brought to us by two of cinemas greatest self promoters in Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino, Hostel is wince inducing, if ultimately a shallow gore wet dream for the early male teenager. There is no doubting the impact of the "horror" on show, with Roth, in spite of his hyperbole as the master of shock, actually knowing how to push all the right genre buttons. But after suffering what basically is a horny youth travelogue for what seems like forever, the blood fest comes as a relief instead of a reward for nervous expectation. Within the story there's some meat as to how sick the world can be, for example one of the titular torturers here has already shown himself to be the father of "cutie" young daughter. And some moral posers and decisions concerning our main protagonist offer some intelligence in the script. But it still feels empty, too self aware of wanting to shock with schlock.

Hostel was successful enough to spawn an even bloodier sequel, much like that film, Hostel is remembered for its gore than for any thing else of substance. 5/10
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on 10 August 2006
My wife and I watched this film together and we both quite enjoyed it. It wasn't a fantastic movie, though it was original enough (by modern standards - it certainly borrows heavily from a number of much older movies, including Cannibal Holocaust and The House on the Edge of the Park) to keep us watching avidly until the end. When I read through the reviews on this page though, I can't help put think that some people just don't get it.

It's true that the movie burgeons on soft porn in its first half (again, borrowing from older, ostensibly horror movies), so if this is likely to bother any 'geek horror boys' or 'horror non-fans ("...though I quite like those funny Scream films..."', be warned - this will annoy you.

The second half does contain some breathtaking, though not sustained, moments of depravity, so the same caveat applies.

Nobody seems to have noticed the obvious message, though. True: in plot and scripting terms, this is a fairly shallow movie. The inderlying message is fairly shallow too, though, which is why I'm surprised that no other reviewer has managed to pick up on it. It's shallow, but it is interesting - it's about where we draw the line.

Early on, we see our main characters visit an Amsterdam brothel. It is beautifully lit and decorated in a modern and tasteful style. Later in the film we see the warehouse where sick men pay to mutilate, torture and kill young, visiting backpackers. The striking thing is that this building is so architecturally similar to the brothel that we saw nearly an hour earlier. It is almost a hellish vision of the earlier, heavenly den of iniquity.

The message is clear: if it is morally acceptable to pay for sex, to decriminalise prostitution and to regulate its presence, how far can we stretch this logic? If a man can pay for sex with a woman who would, in truth, rether not sleep with him, what else is it acceptable to offer for sale?

So, we are welcomed to a world where there are no moral qualms about selling sex and, bubbling beneath the surface, there is a lucrative market in selling foreigners to men with much darker desires. And thorwn in for free, we have a loose plot and a truckload of gore and depravity; maybe not compared with the classic horrors of yesteryear, but certainly next to almost any other horror released in the last decade.
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on 10 August 2006
My wife and I watched this film together and we both quite enjoyed it. It wasn't a fantastic movie, though it was original enough (by modern standards - it certainly borrows heavily from a number of much older movies, including Cannibal Holocaust and The House on the Edge of the Park) to keep us watching avidly until the end. When I read through the reviews on this page though, I can't help put think that some people just don't get it.

It's true that the movie burgeons on soft porn in its first half (again, borrowing from older, ostensibly horror movies), so if this is likely to bother any 'geek horror boys' or 'horror non-fans ("...though I quite like those funny Scream films..."', be warned - this will annoy you.

The second half does contain some breathtaking, though not sustained, moments of depravity, so the same caveat applies.

Nobody seems to have noticed the obvious message, though. True: in plot and scripting terms, this is a fairly shallow movie. The underlying message is fairly shallow too, though, which is why I'm surprised that no other reviewer has managed to pick up on it. It's shallow, but it is interesting - it's about where we draw the line.

Early on, we see our main characters visit an Amsterdam brothel. It is beautifully lit and decorated in a modern and tasteful style. Later in the film we see the warehouse where sick men pay to mutilate, torture and kill young, visiting backpackers. The striking thing is that this building is so architecturally similar to the brothel that we saw nearly an hour earlier. It is almost a hellish vision of the earlier, heavenly den of iniquity.

The message is clear: if it is morally acceptable to pay for sex, to decriminalise prostitution and to regulate its presence, how far can we stretch this logic? If a man can pay for sex with a woman who would, in truth, rather not sleep with him, what else is it acceptable to offer for sale?

So, we are welcomed to a world where there are no moral qualms about selling sex and, bubbling beneath the surface, there is a lucrative market in selling foreigners to men with much darker desires. And thrown in for free, we have a loose plot and a truckload of gore and depravity; maybe not compared with the classic horrors of yesteryear, but certainly next to almost any other horror released in the last decade.
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on 16 September 2010
This is a film that's hugely worth getting on blu-ray both for the price and the picture clarity, as it's so sharp that even though this was my third time (cinema, then TV, then this) it felt like I was watching it for the first time again. Paxton and Josh, together with their crazy friend Oli, are busy burning the candle at both ends in Amsterdam on the hedonistic trip of a lifetime, when they are lured into travelling East to a Slovakian hostel by promises of beautiful easy women. When they get there, they find an apparent paradise of easy sex, clubbing, and picturesque surroundings. But it doesn't take long for the dream to be revealed as an alluring honey-trap that's designed to suck the unwary into a horrifying nightmare.
The actors are perfectly cast for their naturalistic performances and easy, likeable charm, and when the horror starts you empathise with them intensely. That is primarily what makes this film such tough viewing, as if you empathise with people easily, and can put yourself in this 'worst nightmare' scenario of being at the mercy of twisted sickos hacking people up for their own amusement, it becomes a truly terrifying thriller filled with appalling grue and gore. Although sometimes Eli Roth cuts away from the more extreme torture, there's still a great deal shown on camera, with body parts and blood literally coating the scenery in many shots. It takes a strong stomach to watch, and even as a seasoned horror veteran I found myself cringing in revulsion frequently. But this is not wall to wall horror. Roth is an excellent craftsman and takes his time getting there, with a gradual building of tension and unease. It's also an excellent survival thriller, wrapped up in gory packaging. Hence some gorehounds might be disappointed with the amount of story and suspense building that surrounds the bloodier scenes. Personally I felt the film would be pointless without the background, and many factors, such as the fact that American victims fetch the most money, are satirical highlights. The special effects are superb, the web of intruigue around the hostel is excellently built up, and the horror really does feel horrifying. A clever, surprising and searingly raw experience in terror.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 October 2014
In case you didn’t already know... ‘Hostel’ (the second major film by Eli Roth) kind of spawned the rather dubious genre of ‘torture porn.’ This is where gratuitous on-screen violence is displayed for our – the audience’s – entertainment.

And that’s basically the premise of the film. If you’re okay with that, you’ll enjoy it. As, believe it or not, there’s also a story woven somewhere in there. Two American teenagers are backpacking across Europe where they hear of a ‘legendary’ hostel in Eastern Europe where the girls outnumber the guys and do all sorts of other stuff (to put it mildly). Naturally, they head off there and – even more naturally still – they fall foul to all sorts of unspeakable scenarios.

And, if you can get over of the violence, it’s not actually that bad. You’ll like the characters – they’re dumb enough to be believable as your average backpacking teenagers, but not so stupid enough that you’ll be shouting at the screen when they make the wrong decisions. Plus the ‘threat’ element is pretty original and based on numerous urban legends.

So, just to check, if you’re okay with gratuitous sex and violence and generally like horror films then you should probably enjoy this (and part II even, but just don’t bother with part III – it went straight to DVD).
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This is a 2005 horror torture film following three male backpackers, Josh, Paxton and new friend Oli, as they try to hook up with girls on their travels across Europe. Hearing about a Slovakian hostel filled with beautiful and eager women the three board the next train. But is the Hostel all it seems -obviously not for the following day Oli and a new found friend, Yuki, disappear and their dream holiday turns into a nightmare. Though Josh [Derek Richardson] is anxious to leave, Paxton [Jay Hernandez] convinces him to stay one more night.
The main thrust of this `horror' is the way a simple situation can turn to nightmare and the gore, when it comes, is brutal rather than bloody. The problem is the first half hour plays like a travelogue [lose a *] and becomes quite monotonous, filled with drugs, booze and half naked people. Obviously it's trying to set a relaxed scene but is too long. When they arrive at the Hostel, it's like a sexploitation movie featuring lots of gratuitous nudity [actually lose another *] and you're almost halfway in before any disappearances occur. So far it's pretty lame and you don't care about the characters when the action starts, but once the true situation is revealed it does become terrifyingly tense and disturbing but is surprisingly short-lived as it quickly turns into an escape from the baddies movie and the often ridiculous dialogue lets the tension down badly.
The novel approach of having the victims being all male is a refreshing change but the writers fail to understand the intrinsic differences between men and women so the reactions all fall flat. The sound track fits well and the `building' is suitably creepy. I must admit feeling cheated by this movie -I expected more [like Julia X], but got very little from it. The first half is barely a **, whilst the final half merits a grudging ***** -despite a half-hearted ending. Overall a decent ***. If you like `Saw', `Hills have Eyes' or `Wrong Turn' and those type movies, this may appeal but the horror is intense and short lived, rather than on-going.
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on 16 April 2008
I made the mistake of watching this because a friend recommended it. I am not a big fan of horror films - but I do agree that some are better than others. EG Silence of the Lambs was gripping because of the character of Lecter (unlike Hannibal, which I thought was very weak). What I do not like is gratuitous displays of human suffering. Which is what this is - it boils down to trying to dream up ghastly things that could be done to a helpless victim. To me that is just sick. That is what real serial killers do - why turn it into entertainment???
So I simply do not understand the horror afficianados, who complain this film is "tame"; to me it was disgusting - because I empathise with the victims. But if you DO like that sort of thing, I suppose you might like this.
But there are no interesting twists to the plot either. It is all rather predictable. (Unlike, say Saw, which I also thought was sick, but at least quite clever. Or Deathproof - by the way Hostel has NONE of the qualities of a Tarentino movie, apart from gore.)
As for the 'black humour' & politics mentioned in Amazon's official review - what??? Did we watch the same film??? There is no humour or politics whatsoever! In fact I found it rather racist in its depiction of Slovakians & Russians as brutal thugs, corrupt police, begging children etc etc.
God knows why Tarentino associated his name with this. It is vile, predictable and racist, with none of his own panache.
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VINE VOICEon 11 December 2008
Two US backpackers and their new friend from Iceland are travelling around Europe and enjoying the girls and the drugs in all of the best cities when they meet a guy in Amsterdam who tips them off for the best place to go for women. Using his advice they head to Slovakia where they stay in a hostel which does seem to have the friendliest and most beautiful women. Only a day or so into the stay, they realise that the hostel isn't as great as it seems as it is a place where rich people come to murder tourists in a kill-for-fun business.

I've put off watching this film for ages as I've always heard the stories of how disgusting and sick this film is but, I don't know whether it's because I've seen some other really violent films recently so the shock levels has decreased or it had just been over-hyped, I didn't actually find it too bad in comparison to some other torture-horrors like the Saw films or The Hills Have Eyes. Yes it is still pretty sick and very gory, but was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

It is actually a very tense and exciting thriller that has a lot of edge-of-your-seat scenes, which surprised me as I was just expecting non-stop torture for 90 minutes. It doesn't feel very Tarantino at all really, but does have a lot of his sense of humour in there.

Overall this is a surprisingly good horror-thriller that you will need a strong stomach for but is well worth watching if you're a fan of the genre. The Blu Ray picture quality is great and at the cheap price it is definitely the best format to get it on. I guarantee this film will put you off going on holiday in small European towns for a long time!
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