Hostel (2005 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Eli Roth|
|Written by||Eli Roth|
|Music by||Nathan Barr|
|Edited by||George Folsey, Jr.|
|Box office||$80.6 million|
Hostel is a 2005 American horror film written and directed by Eli Roth. It stars Jay Hernandez and was produced by Mike Fleiss, Eli Roth, and Chris Briggs; Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegel, and Quentin Tarantino are executive producers. It is the first installment of the Hostel trilogy, followed by Hostel: Part II (2007) and Hostel: Part III (2011). The film tells the story of two college students traveling across Europe, who find themselves preyed upon by a mysterious group that tortures and kills kidnapped back-packers.
College students Paxton and Josh are travelling across Europe with their Icelandic friend Óli. In Amsterdam, they get kicked out of a nightclub for fighting and visit prostitutes in a brothel. After, they return to their hostel to find there's a curfew and they're locked out. A man in a nearby apartment, Alexei, invites them to stay at his place that night. He convinces them to visit a hostel in Slovakia filled with beautiful women. The three board a train to Slovakia, where they encounter a strange Dutch businessman who touches Josh on the leg. Josh yells at him, causing the embarrassed businessman to leave. When they arrive in Slovakia, they are impressed by the beauty of the town and the grandeur of the hostel and find their roommates are two beautiful women, Natalya and Svetlana, who invite them to the spa, and later to the disco. That night, at the disco, Josh goes outside but is attacked by a gang of local kids known as the "Bubblegum gang" and is rescued by the Dutch businessman, buying him a beer to thank him and apologise for his reaction on the train. Paxton and Josh have sex with Natalya and Svetlana, while Óli leaves with the desk girl, Vala. The next morning, they are surprised to see that Óli hasn't returned, and they are unable to contact him. They are later approached by a Japanese girl named Kana, who shows them a photo of Óli and her friend Yuki, who has disappeared as well.
They get a selfie from Óli who told them he went home but they find it strange and unusual for him. Although Josh is anxious to leave, Paxton convinces him to stay one more night to have sex with the girls again. That night, Josh and Paxton are slipped tranquilizers. Josh stumbles back to the hotel room, while Paxton passes out in the disco's storage room. Josh wakes up in a dungeon-like room, and is approached by a man who drills holes into his chest and legs. The man removes his mask, revealing himself as the Dutch Businessman, and tells Josh about his failed dream of becoming a surgeon. After Josh begs to be set free, the Dutch Businessman slices Josh's achilles tendons, and removes his restraints. Unable to walk, Josh attempts to crawl to the door, but the Dutch Businessman slices his throat with a scalpel, killing him.
Meanwhile, Paxton wakes up the next morning and returns to the hostel. He gets frustrated with the desk clerk, who insists that he already checked out, and when he returns to his room, he is greeted by two women, who invite him to the spa in an eerily similar manner to Natalya and Svetlana. Paxton finds Natalya and Svetlana at a pub and asks them if they know where Josh is. Natalya tells him that Josh and Óli are visiting an art exhibit, and she agrees to take him there. They arrive at an old factory, and Paxton is horrified to find Josh's mutilated corpse being stitched together by the Dutch Businessman. Paxton is then ambushed by thugs and dragged down a hallway, passing by several rooms where other people are being gruesomely tortured. He is brought to a cell, where he is restrained in a chair and joined minutes later by a German client named Johann. Paxton begs in German to be let go.
After severing two of Paxton's fingers with a chainsaw, Johann unintentionally removes his restraints as well. Johann charges at Paxton with the chainsaw but slips and severs his own leg. Paxton reaches for a gun and shoots Johann in the head. A guard enters the room but Paxton shoots him and escapes the cell. Paxton enters another room and hides in the bottom of a cart filled with corpses, and severed limbs. A butcher takes the corpses to the bottom floor to be incinerated, and Paxton bludgeons him with a sledge hammer. He then takes the elevator to the top floor and enters the dressing room, where he changes into business clothes, and finds a business card for the Elite Hunting club, an organization where rich people pay to kill tourists. He also meets an American client, who mistakes him for another customer, and picks up his gun.
Paxton escapes the factory but returns after hearing cries for help. He enters another room and discovers Kana having her face and eye tortured by the American client. After killing the American client, Paxton and Kana flee in a stolen car, pursued by guards. While driving, Paxton sees Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexei, and runs them over, killing them. Paxton and Kana make it to the train station, but after seeing a reflection of her disfigured face, Kana leaps in front of an oncoming train and kills herself. This creates a distraction, allowing Paxton to board another train unnoticed.
Once aboard, Paxton hears the voice of the Dutch Businessman. When the train stops in Vienna, Austria, Paxton follows him to a public restroom and throws the Elite Hunting card under his stall. When the Dutch Businessman reaches down to pick it up, Paxton grabs his hand and cuts off the same fingers he lost during his escape. He then breaks into the stall and nearly drowns the Dutch Businessman in the toilet, but allows him to see his reflection before slitting his throat and killing him. Paxton then leaves to board another train.
In the Director's Cut, Paxton kidnaps the Dutch Businessman's daughter instead of killing him. After finding her teddy bear in the restroom she was supposed to be in, the Dutch Businessman searches for his missing daughter unaware that Paxton's train has just left.
- Jay Hernandez as Paxton
- Derek Richardson as Josh
- Eyþór Guðjónsson as Óli
- Jennifer Lim as Kana
- Barbara Nedeljáková as Natalya
- Jana Kaderabkova as Svetlana
- Jan Vlasák as The Dutch Businessman
- Rick Hoffman as The American Client
- Keiko Seiko as Yuki
- Lubomir Bukovy as Alexei
- Jana Havlickova as Vala
- Petr Janiš as Johan, the German Surgeon
- Takashi Miike as The Japanese Sadist
- Patrik Zigo as The Bubblegum Gang Leader
- Milda "Jedi" Havlas as Desk Clerk Jedi
- Miroslav Táborský as Police officer
- Josef Bradna as The Butcher
- Eli Roth as American Stoner
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Hostel opened theatrically on January 6, 2006, in the United States and earned $19.6 million in its first weekend, ranking number one in the box office. By the end of its run, six weeks later, the film grossed $47.3 million in the US box office and $33.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $80.6 million.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 61% based on 104 reviews. The site's 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."
The Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw wrote 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 subgenre "torture porn", or "gorno", using excessive violence to excite audiences like a sexual act. Jean-François Rauger, a 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.
Slovak reaction to setting
The film's release was accompanied by strong complaints from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Slovak and Czech officials were both disgusted and outraged by the film's portrayal of their countries as undeveloped, poor, and uncultured lands 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-expenses-paid trip to their country so he could see it is not made up of run-down factories, ghettos, and kids who kill for bubble gum. Tomáš Galbavý, a Slovak Member of Parliament from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party, 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 travel to Texas.
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- "Hostel (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. February 17, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- Schwinke, Theodore (2006-07-05). "Eli Roth plans Czech shoot for Hostel 2". Screen International. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for January 6-8, 2006". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. January 9, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
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- "Florian Evers". Vexierbilder des Holocaust, LIT, Munster, 2011.
- 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.
- 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".
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