Hostel (2005 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Eli Roth|
|Produced by||Eli Roth
|Written by||Eli Roth|
|Music by||Nathan Barr|
|Editing by||George Folsey, Jr.|
International Production Company
|Distributed by||Screen Gems
Lions Gate Films
|Running time||93 minutes|
Hostel is a 2005 American horror film written, produced and directed by Eli Roth and starring Jay Hernandez. The first sequel, Hostel: Part II, was released on June 8, 2007, and the second sequel, Hostel: Part III, was released on December 27, 2011.
College students Paxton and Josh, along with their friend Óli, are backpacking across Europe. After a night of partying, they meet a Dutch man named Alexei who informs them about an undocumented hostel near Bratislava filled with beautiful women.
The three subsequently board a train on which they meet a strange Dutch businessman, whose bizarre behavior puzzles them until he places his hand on Josh's knee, causing him to react badly. The three leave the train at a small Slovak village, check into the local hostel and find themselves sharing a room with two beautiful single women, Natalya and Svetlana. At a disco, Josh is saved from a gang of impoverished children looking for money and bubblegum by the strange businessman. The next day, a young Japanese backpacker, Kana, approaches Paxton and Josh who are searching for Óli, informing them that her friend Yuki is missing as well. An MMS photo sent from Yuki's phone shows Yuki and Óli with the word "Sayonara" beneath it and later, they spot a man wearing Óli's jacket. Not long after, Paxton and Josh receive a second MMS photo message from Óli's phone, in which their friend appears in a closeup face shot saying "I go home". The scene shifts to the source of the photo, revealing Óli's severed head sitting on a table. Paxton and Josh decide to leave Bratislava with Kana the following day. Although Josh is anxious to leave immediately, Paxton talks him into staying just one more night so they can have sex with Natalya and Svetlana again. Josh agrees and later that night while partying with Natalya and Svetlana, Paxton and Josh are slipped tranquilizers. Josh stumbles back to the hostel while Paxton passes out in the disco's storage room.
Josh wakes up handcuffed to a chair in a dungeon-like room. The businessman comes in and starts torturing him, telling him about his failed dream of being a surgeon. After slicing Josh's achilles tendons and seemingly allowing him to leave, now unable to walk, Josh is killed by the businessman. Paxton returns to his room where two women, eerily similar to Natalya and Svetlana, invite him to a spa. When the local police chief proves unhelpful, Paxton locates Natalya and Svetlana and interrogates them on the whereabouts of Josh, successfully getting them to show him.
Once Paxton enters a factory, he shockingly witnesses the businessman cutting open Josh's corpse. He is then ambushed by thugs and taken to a cell and learns that he was sold. He is restrained in a chair and joined minutes later by a German client, Johann. After trying to reason with him, Johann calls one of the thugs to silence him with a ball gag. He prepares to kill Paxton. However Paxton begins to vomit when Johann takes the gag off and torments him. Accidentally cutting off two of Paxton's fingers, Johann unknowingly severs Paxton's restraints. Johann slips and cuts his own leg off with his chainsaw and Paxton gets out of the chair and shoots Johann. Paxton shoots the guard that comes in, escapes the cell and hides in the bottom of a cart piled with corpses. The man with the cart goes to the bottom floor of the building and Paxton kills him. He goes up and makes it to a dressing room and meets an American who has also come here to join an organization called the Elite Hunting Club. He asks Paxton questions on the experience believing that Paxton also paid. Paxton discovers Kana being tortured by the American and frees her, killing the man. The two flee in a car and accidentally meet Natalya, Svetlana and Alexei on a street, running them over and killing them. With the help of the child gang, Paxton and Kana elude the guards and head to the train station. When Kana sees a reflection of her disfigured face, she jumps in front of an oncoming train, thus creating an unwilling diversion for Paxton to get on another train.
Aboard the train, Paxton hears the voice of the businessman. When the train stops at the station, Paxton follows him to a public restroom and brutally murders him. Paxton then boards a train leaving the area.
Alternative ending 
The alternate ending involved Paxton kidnapping the doctor's daughter while he goes to the bathroom and she goes in the women's room. As the doctor frantically looks for her, Paxton is shown covering the girl's mouth and the train leaves.
In Eli Roth's original Hostel script, the alternate ending was his ending but when Tarantino and Roth came up with the other ending, they decided to shoot both and the new ending came out better. They didn't want to end the film with Paxton being a stone cold killer/kidnapper. They wanted a revenge style ending but with sympathy for Paxton, not the businessman.
- Jay Hernandez as Paxton
- Derek Richardson as Josh
- Eyþór Guðjónsson as Óli
- Barbara Nedeljáková as Natalya
- Jan Vlasák as The Dutch Businessman
- Jana Kaderabkova as Svetlana
- Jennifer Lim as Kana
- Keiko Seiko as Yuki
- Lubomir Bukovy as Alexei
- Jana Havlickova as Vala
- Rick Hoffman as The American Client
- Petr Janiš as Johan, the German Surgeon
- Takashi Miike as Miike Takashi
- Patrik Zigo as The Bubblegum Gang Leader
- Milda "Jedi" Havlas as Desk Clerk Jedi
- Miroslav Táborský as Police Officer
- Josef Bradna as The Butcher
- Klara Smetanova as Girl
- Eli Roth as American stoner
Despite the fact that most of the film is set in a small fictional location near Bratislava, Slovakia, not a single sequence was actually shot in Slovakia. It was filmed at the Barrandov Studios, Prague and in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. In addition to the lower costs of filming in the Czech Republic, Barrandov has well-equipped sound stages, making it a popular choice for US productions set in Europe. 95% of the film was shot on location in and around Prague, and the stage was only used for the main torture rooms. The last scene was filmed at Hamburg Dammtor train station in Germany.
Box office 
The film's opening weekend North American box office gross was $19.5 million, making it the top grossing film that weekend. It went on to gross a total of $47.2 million in the U.S. The film's budget was around $4.8 million, and the film went on to gross over $80 million at the box office worldwide.
Critical response 
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 60% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 102 reviews, with the sites consensus stating, "Featuring lots of guts and gore, Hostel is a wildly entertaining corpse-filled journey -- assuming one is entertained by corpses, guts, and gore, that is." On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 55 out of 100, based on 21 reviews.
Entertainment Weekly's film critic Owen Gleiberman commended the film's creativity, saying "You may or may not believe that slavering redneck psychos, of the kind who leer through Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects, can be found in the Southwest, but it's all too easy to envision this sort of depravity in the former Soviet bloc, the crack-up of which has produced a brutal marketplace of capitalistic fiendishness. The torture scenes in Hostel (snipped toes, sliced ankles, pulled eyeballs) are not, in essence, much different from the surgical terrors in the Saw films, only Roth, by presenting his characters as victims of the same world of flesh-for-fantasy they were grooving on in the first place, digs deep into the nightmare of a society ruled by the profit of illicit desire." German film historian Florian Evers pointed out the holocaust imagery behind Hostel 's horror iconography, connecting Roth's movie to the Nazisploitationgenre.
Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw noted that Hostel was "actually silly, crass and queasy. And not in a good way". David Edelstein of New York Magazine was equally negative deriding director Roth with creating the horror sub-genre 'torture porn,' or 'gorno,' using excessive violence to excite audiences like a sexual act. Jean-François Rauger, film critic for Le Monde, a French newspaper, and programmer of the Cinémathèque Française, listed Hostel as the best American film of 2006, calling it an example of modern consumerism. Hostel won the 2006 Empire Award for Best Horror Film. The film's underlying social critique and its link to Marxist and Nietzschean philosophy was recently debated by a panel at Rider University's 2010 Film Symposium by Dr. Barry Seldes, Dr. Robert Good, and James Morgart.
Slovak reaction to setting 
The film's release was accompanied by strong complaints from the country of Slovakia, and also from the Czech Republic. Slovak and Czechs officials were disgusted by the film's portrayal of their country as an undeveloped, poor and uncultured land suffering from high criminality, war and prostitution, fearing it would "damage the good reputation of Slovakia" and make foreigners feel it was a dangerous place to be. The tourist board of Slovakia invited Roth on an all-expense paid trip to their country so he could see it is not made up of run down factories and kids who kill for bubble gum. Tomáš Galbavý, a Slovak Member of Parliament, commented: "I am offended by this film. I think that all Slovaks should feel offended."
Defending himself, Roth said the film was not meant to be offensive, arguing "Americans do not even know that this country exists. My film is not a geographical work but aims to show Americans' ignorance of the world around them." Roth has repeatedly argued that despite the many films in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, people still go to Texas.
- "HOSTEL (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 2006-01-18. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- Hostel at Box Office Mojo
- "Hostel - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Hostel (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Movie Review: Hostel". Entertainment Weekly.
- "[[Florian Evers]]". Vexierbilder des Holocaust, LIT, Munster, 2011. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- Peter Bradshaw: "Hostel" review, at Guardian Unlimited
- David Edelstein: Now Playing at Your Local Multiplex: Torture Porn, at New York Magazine, published on January 28th, 2006.
- Jean Francois Rauger (2006-12-27). "Les films préférés des critiques du "Monde" en 2006". Le Monde (accessed with Google Translate). Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Film and Media Studies to Host Symposium on Horror[dead link]
- Cameron, Rob (24 February 2006). "Smash hit horror Hostel causes a stir among citizens of sleepy Slovakia". Radio Prague. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- "Slovakia angered by horror film". BBC News. 27 February 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- Hostel: April 2006 Archives
- Close-Up Film Features
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- Official website
- Hostel at the Internet Movie Database
- Hostel at AllRovi
- Hostel at Box Office Mojo
- Hostel at Rotten Tomatoes
- Hostel at Metacritic