Halloween Hangover: Hostel

Because I have watched several films in the past couple of weeks and have been too lazy, too busy, or too blocked to write-up reviews for them, I have decided to put a bunch up today in order to get them out of my system and prepare for regularly scheduled reviews. Never commit yourself to posting every day. It never works out.

I never have had a desire to watch any of the Hostel or Saw films. What I heard about them was quite enough for me to avoid them. But sometimes you just have to watch something in order to not be called pretentious for the millionth time. I took the bullet, you guys. Man was it hard to swallow.


This film speaks volumes in its mediocre voice. The scares are nothing more than gross out mutilations, the plot is as thin as a piece of paper and the performances are horrendous. There is nothing to recommend this film unless you are into torture porn. I never really knew to the extent that torture porn could take place until I watched this film. How is this enjoyable to people? Why do they submit their precious and sensitive eyes to these images? I think gross mutilation can be useful in order to add impact to a plot (Park Chan-Wook uses mutilation to almost genius levels in his Vengeance trilogy) but to have it as a driving force behind your whole film is ludicrous. At a certain point if you are shown image after image of unimaginable blood and guts, you become desensitized to it and it no longer has the impact you were wanting for your film. If your film has no impact on a film goer, then the film is unsuccessful. So how did this film succeed in becoming monotonous with its torture scenes and yet make millions of dollars and spawn sequels? That is a question that I have trouble answering without reverting to rhetoric about the dumb majority. I hate making over arching generalizations about a significant part of the population (years of gender and race studies along with long and arduous fights with my boyfriend over me generalizing his actions have all ingrained me with a morbid fear of generalization). So Instead I want to know why something like this has such a big impact on society and caught on like wild-fire.

My roommate’s answer is simple: He has never seen anything so gross yet so inventive. One of his favorite scenes involves a man getting his Achilles tendons cut when he tries to escape. He gets excited when the scene is getting close and although he has seen the film many times before, he still can’t get over how much that would hurt. Critics take this simple answer and flesh it out with comments on the themes of xenophobia and masculinity. Flavorwire even went as far as to put this film on their top 50 most essential horror films. Other films on that list include iconic films like Dracula, well made slow-moving films like The Shining and gritty seventies classics like the Exorcist. Their justification of the film mainly relies on the hidden complexity behind such a simple story. What is not surprising is that Flavorwire is not the only one to put it on a list of great horror films.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe my roommates are right. Maybe all you need in order to have a great film is unique kills. The story, the characters and the acting does not matter, just as long as the killings are scary. Don’t worry. I will not be watching any Saw films in the near future.




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