Thursday, July 28, 2011

Welcome to "Bratislava" : Hostel (2005)

Hostel (2005)
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Jennifer Lim, Eythor Gudjonsson and Barbara Nedeljáková

Ah yes, the torture porn genre. By the time the genre hits the public it's met with loud bashing and riots by angry mothers and churchgoers due to its depiction of over the top violence and gore. It even met some notoriety among some slasher fans for "ruining" the sub-genre, degrading it into pseudo-snuff films with prolonged deaths and gross-out factors. Because of that, many fans separates such titles as a "different horror sub- genre". I'm gonna call Crap-o-la on that.

Yeah ...yeah ...yeah...T&A, we get it...
In the past five or so years, Torture Porn had influenced many slasher titles to go beyond the tame, and though I'm not going to agree that the idea is good, these new wave slashers need some love and acceptance. So, I welcome Hostel into my humble slasher review site as a hybrid of both genres.

Here, we get a trio of college students who're looking for some T&A across Europe, after a little brush with the locals late at night, got what they wanted as a Russian man informs them of one such place. They soon traveled to an undocumented near Bratislava, where it is said to have many girls who are looking for sweet American asses. Of course, they did got what they were looking for, but what they weren't expecting to be targeted by an underground organization where they "murder-for-profit" anyone they could get their hands on.

Then they begin to thin down into just one, the survivor must kill his way out, no matter what...

I've seen a lot of  debates from fans whether they should consider titles such as SAW or Hostel as slasher films or not. For me, just because a slasher film went off the pattern of stalking dumb teenagers in an isolated cabin with power tools one by one, it doesn't make them any less than one. But yet again, Hostel had too much going on to make it a standard slasher; the lack of chase makes it hard to point out as one, as well as the bigger emphasis on the "Final Boy's" escape.

Mutilations gone heavy in this Eli Roth directed feature, as the first kill starts out pretty tame (an off-screen beheading) before going to an all-out splat attack on the audience with an assortments of murders such as castration, electrocution, disembowelment, you name it. No one had seen it coming and it's enough to keep fans happy.

Of course, this movie is made for pure gorehounds; critics would never understand it, nor would even accept what it had done to the genre, but I see it more as a revival of Herschell Gordon Lewis's splatter films that started in the 60s with more visceral details than before, as well as paying a few nods to past slasher films (like that obvious tribute to Leatherface's little "accident" in the first TCM.and the usual teens in peril of masked psycho/es plot line). With that being said, some of the notoriety of this film didn't came from the gore alone, but also the interpretation of a European country as a war plagued, crime high and whore infested land, where their only way to defile themselves from these problems is to abduct a couple of people and sell them to willing buyers for them to murder.

As sickening as it is, the empty feeling it has once the gore's removed is inevitable. Luckily, I'm a gorehound of some level and I'm just in it for the gore alone. I would like to see that film as a "kill-count" film, where you just sit back and enjoy the carnage without thinking too much. If I wanted more story coming from this film, I would see its sequel instead (which is a lot better! Surprisingly), but as for this, I think Mr. Roth had no idea what he had started...

1 male head seen
1 female tortured, later seen mutilated
1 male, heels cut, neck slashed offscreen with scalpel
1 male seen with his neck being mutilated
1 male seen being killed with a powerdrill
1 male seen being castrated
1 male seen being bludgeoned with board.
1 male accidentally sawed off his own leg with a chainsaw, gunshot to the head
1 male shot 
1 male hammered on the head
1 male shot
2 females and 1 male repeatedly ran over with car
2 males gets their heads bashed in with rocks (by children!)
1 female suicide: throws herself into an incoming train
1 male neck slashed with scalpel
total: 18

(note: in some version of  the film the final kill didn't happen. Paxton, after escaping and was about to board a train he spots the Dutch Business man with his daughter. He follows them to the bathroom; After the Business man did his...business, he went out and finds his daughter missing. He began calling out for her, panicking, as it reveals that Paxton had his little girl as they drive away. The Business man continues to call for her as the film ends. On a personal note, I really prefer this ending.)

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