Eli Roth terrifies audiences nationwide

Posted Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 12:00am

Full of adventure and fun, American college buddies Paxton and Josh backpack through Europe eager to make classically hazy travel memories with new friends Oli, an Icelander. Paxton and Josh are eventually lured by a fellow traveler to what's described as "a land of milk and honey" for American backpackers - a hostel in a remote Slovakian town stocked with Eastern European women as desperate as they're gorgeous.

The two friends arrive and easily pair off with Natalya and Svetlana. In fact, too easily ... Initially distracted by the good time they're being shown, the Americans quickly find themselves in an increasingly sinister situation that they'll discover is as wide as the vast web of post-Communist corruption and as deep as the darkest, sickest recess of human nature itself - if they survive.

More macabre than Roth's "Cabin Fever," "Hostel" amalgamates many of the most terrifying things about human nature and the world at large, called from pulpy-but-true stories of organized crime, human trafficking and sex tourism. Graphic and deeply disturbing, the film is sure to delight hard core genre. Although you'll have to drive to Provo to see it, Eli Roth's "Hostel" is a movie worth seeing. Those under 17 will have to bring an adult however, as "Hostel" carries an R rating for brutal scenes of torture and violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use.

"When we screened Hostel at the Toronto Film Festival, two ambulances were called to the site," Roth recalls with a laugh. "About 45 minutes into the film, one person left and then fainted. I remember asking if anyone had died and was like, 'damn it!,' when I found out no one did."

The idea behind the movie came from late night web surfing, where Roth stumbled onto a web site that for $10,000, anyone can be escorted to a room, handed a loaded gun and offered another human being to kill. The reason the gruesome concept is supposedly legal is because the victims' participating in it are doing so at their own free will. Apparently, the poverty-stricken individuals are sacrificing their own lives so that their families will have enough money to survive.

Much of the violence occurs off-screen, but the carnage is seen quickly after. The first part of the movie is slightly misleading. The strong sexual content and excessive partying and drug use throw the audience off guard, and provide a greater contrast for the impending violence. Although the film's budget was quite low, the special effects do not suffer. The film is one of the most realistic horror films ever made.

If you liked "Saw" and "Saw II", then go see "Hostel". Although not as scary, the movie is quite a bit more intense and has more blood and gore. Overall, I give "Hostel" 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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