Hostel is a 2005 American horror film, directed and written by Eli Roth, produced by Quentin Taratino. The film staring Jay Hernandez (Paxton) and Derek Richardson (Josh) in the leading roles, with small cameo of Eli Roth, as an American Stoner. The movie tells the story of two American College students, backpacking through Europe. But their dream vacation turns into a nightmare when they fall victim to the lucrative business of the Elite Hunting Club.
College students Paxton and Josh have the time of their life, partying, drinking, visiting coffeeshops and brothels in Amsterdam with their new friend, Óli. The three plan on visiting Barcelona as next destination, but their plans are changed when they met Alexi, who tells them about the aftermath of a war in Eastern Europe. With most of the men having died in this war, the women are lonely and horny, willing to have sex with tourists. One of these places would be Slovakia. Although Óli is interested, Paxton and Josh hold off until they get into some trouble with their neighbors in Amsterdam. They take Alexi's proposition and the next day, they board a train to Slovakia.
On the train, they are joined in their compartment by a Dutch businessman. The man is a bit eccentric, but they laugh off his odd behaviour at first, before he touches Josh' leg. Josh reacts aggressively, and this results in the man, embarrassed by the incident, leaving the compartment. When they arrive in Slovakia, they check into the hostel Alexi told them about, and at first it appears he was telling the truth; they meet two women, Svetlana and Natalya, who invite them to the spa, and later to the disco. The darker side of the picturesque village is soon broken, however, when a gang of children, known as the Bubblegum gang, demands money of Josh, but he is saved by the Dutch businessman from the train. Embarrassed by this coincidence, Josh offers him a drink and apologizes for his earlier aggression.
When the night falls, Josh and Paxton end up in bed with Svetlana and Natalya, respectively, as Óli has his way with a deskgirl, named Vala. But to the surprise of Paxton and Josh, Óli does not return in the morning. At first they don't think much of it but after a while, they start to worry, especially since they are unable to contact him. In their search, they meet a Japanse girl Kana, whose friend Yuki has also disappeared. The last picture she has received from Yuki is a selfie of her and Óli. Shortly after, Kana get a message of Yuki: Sayonara, while Paxton and Josh get a message from Óli who claims that he went home. Unbeknownst to them, Óli didn't send the message: the image is actually of his decapitated head, as he has been killed by the Elite Hunting Club.
Josh doesn't trust the situation and wants to leave, but Paxton convinces him to stay for one more night. At a party that night, both are drugged. Paxton falls unconscious in a closet while looking for a bathroom, inadvertedly saving himself. Josh wakes up in a dungeon-like room, chained to a chair and almost naked. A man wearing a surgeon's mask and orange jumpsuit enters, and begins torturing Josh with power tools. As Josh almost goes into shock, the man removes his mask, revealing himself to be the Dutch Businessman. He explains how he always wanted to be a surgeon, but was denied this due to his tremors, before resuming the torment. After Josh begs for his freedom, he seems to comply, and opens the door for him; however, the businessman cuts Josh's achilles tendons, which tear completely as he tries to stand. Unable to walk, Josh crawls to the door but before he can reach it, the man grabs him from behind and cuts his throat with the scalpel.
Paxton arrives at the hostel, unable to find Josh, and he is told by the clerk that Josh has already checked out. Returning to his room, he is propositioned by two women, eerily similar to how they were greeted by Natalya and Svetlana. While trying to unravel the mystery, he soon learns that he can't rely on the authories, as they seems to be unwilling to help him or take him seriously. In a torture museum, he sees a man whom he believes to be Oli. Although the man wears a vest identical to that of Óli, the man claims to know nothing and tells him to leave him alone. Putting things together, he looks for Svetlana and Natalya, eventually finding them in a bar, demanding that they bring him to Josh. Natalya tells him that Josh and Óli were visiting an art exhibit, and they offer to take him there. Arriving at the factory, after being cryptically warned by a client that he'd 'Spend all of his money in there', he sees the Dutch Businessman performing surgery on the corpse of Josh, before slamming his door shut. Recoiling in horror, Paxton attempts to confront Natalya, who only laughs at him; she explains that she got a lot of money for him, making him 'her bitch'. Before he can react, he is dragged away to a cell, witnessing some of the Elite Hunting Club's tortures on the way.
Shortly after Paxton is chained to a chair, a German client, named Johan, arrives in the cell. As Johan threats Paxton with several tools, Paxton realises that his torturer is German and attempts to reason with him in his native tongue. This only annoys the client, who has a guard gag Paxton, only for him to vomit and start choking. Not wanting Paxton to die that way, the client removes the gag, discarding of it on the floor. As Johan attacks Paxton with a chainsaw, he misses, severing two of Paxton's fingers but also sawing through the handcuffs. On the next swing, Johan steps on the discarded gag, falls, and cuts off his own leg with the chainsaw. Paxton uses this opportunity to grab a gun and shoot Johan in the head before any guards can be alerted. Imitating Johan, he calls for a guard in German before killing him as well and escaping the room.
Taking his severed fingers with him, he flees into another room and hide on a cart of corpses. A butcher arrives to add more bodies to the pile - including Josh's - and takes them to be incinerated. In the butcher room, as the man dismembers and cremates the corpses, Paxton accidently drops his severed fingers and the butchers burns them as well. Paxton soon sees his chance to crawl from the cart and kill the man from behind, quickly escaping to the upper levels. In the dressing room, he dresses himself with clothing he found, hiding his mutilated hand in leather gloves. He also quickly learns of the Elite Hunting Club and their activities. An American client mistakes him for another customer and asks him for advice. Paxton advises the American to kill his victim quickly but he is ignored.
Once he is almost outside, he is drawn back inside the factory by a woman's scream. Against his better judgement, he re-enters to try and help. He finds Kana being tortured by the American client, armed with a blowtorch. The American recognizes him immediately, and, still believing Paxton to be an Elite Hunting Club member, tells him to get his own room. Paxton shoots him, before severing Kana's eye, which is hanging from the socket. Together, Kana and Paxton flee towards the train station, closely followed by the Elite Hunting Club. While driving throught the streets, they run down Natalya, Svetlana and Alexi. Paxton then bribes the Bubblegum Gang into ambushing and killing the Elite Hunting Club guards pursuing them. At the station, the police begin to close in on the duo, but Kana provides a distraction: horrified at seeing the reflection of her disfigured face in a window, she throws herself in front of a train, allowing Paxton to escape in the chaos. Boarding a train to Austria, Paxton's relief turns to horror as he hears the voice of the Dutch businessman nearby.
In Vienna, he follows the Dutch businessman to a public restroom and enters the toilet stall next to him. Sliding the Elite Hunting Club business card under the stall, Paxton grabs the businessman's wrist as he reaches to pick it up, cutting off two of his fingers. As he flounders, Paxton runs into the next stall and forces the businessman's head underwater, before slitting his throat and allowing him to bleed out as he leaves for Vienna.
Alternate Ending Edit
The film has an alternate ending, found in the Director's cut. In this ending, instead of following the Dutch businessman into the restroom and killing him, Paxton kidnaps the Dutch businessman's beloved daughter. As he finds the girl's teddy bear in the stall she was supposed to be in, he searches for her, unaware that Paxton's train has left.
- Jay Hernandez as Paxton
- Derek Richardson as Josh
- Eyþór Guðjónsson as Óli
- Barbara Nedeljáková as Natalya
- Jan Vlasák as Dutch Businessman
- Jana Kaderabkova as Svetlana
- Jennifer Kim 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 (cameo)
List of deaths in the film, Hostel.
|Name||Cause of Death||Killer||On Screen||Notes|
|Yuki||Tortured to death||Elite Hunting Client||No|
|Óli||Decapitation||Elite Hunting Client||No|
|Josh||Exsanguination: got his throat slit with a scalpel||Dutch Businessman||Yes||Prior to his death, holes were drilled in his chest muscles and thighs and got his achilles tendons cut.|
|Several victims||Various||Several Elite Hunting Clients||No||Only glimpses are seen, as Paxton is dragged away.|
|German Elite Hunting Client||Shot in the head with a gun||Paxton||Yes||Prior to his death, he accidentally amputed his own left leg with a chainsaw.|
|Butcher||Head Trauma: Bludgeoned to death with a hamer||Paxton||Yes|
|American Elite Hunting Client||Shot in the head with a gun||Paxton||Yes||Killed for mutilating Kana's face with a blowtorch|
|American Elite Hunting Client||Shot in the head with a gun||Paxton||Yes||Killed for mutilating Kana's face with a blowtorch|
|Alexi, Natalya & Svetlana||Blunt force Trauma: Run over by car||Paxton||Yes||Revenge|
|Elite Hunting Guards||Head Trauma: Stoned to death||Bubblegum Gang||Yes|
|Kana||Dismemberment: commited suicide by jumping in front of a train||Kana||Yes||Commited suicide after seeing her disfigured face.|
|Dutch Businessman||Exsanguination: he got his throat slit with a knife||Paxton||Yes||Prior to his death, Paxton cut off two of his fingers, a reference to how Paxton lost his fingers.|
According to Eli Roth, he got the idea for Hostel after reading an advertisment or article on the internet. The page talked about a place in Thailand where you could go into a room, shoot a chained man, kill him and no questions would be asked. All this for a 1000 dollar per kill. Whether or not, the page was serious or a joke, Eli wasn't sure about but he kept thinking about the possibility of the existance of these organisation. While the main story and the EHC organization is set in a fictional village near Bratislava, Slovakia, the filming itself took place in the Czech Republic, instead of Slovakia. The filming was done at Barrandov studios in Prague, but most of the filming (95%) was on location, in or around Prague and in the city of Český Krumlov. The stage at Barrandov studios was actually only used for the scenes with the main torture rooms. The main reason why they choose for Barrandov studios was that not only it is cheaper to film in Czech Republic, but they also have well-equipped sound stages. The last scene that according to the film take place in Austria, is actually Hamburg Dammtor train station, Germany.
The film's budget was approximately $4,8 million and during its opening weekend, the North American Box office gross was already $19,5 million. Eventually, the film made $47.2 million in the US alone, $80 million worldwide.
Critics gave mixed reviews on the film, some praising it for it story and creativity, others dismissing it for its reliance on extreme visceral imagery, some even refering to it as the first Torture Porn film.
Both review aggregation sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, gave the film mild positive reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes score being 61%, based on 104 reviews, stating that the film is entertaining for fans of gorey films with blood and guts. Metacritic was less gracious, rating the film of 55%, based on 21 reviews.
The film was greatly praised by Owen Gleiber, film critic for Entertainment Weekly, commenting on its cultural influences and creativity: "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 film was listed as the best American film of 2006, praising its take on modern consumerism, by French film critic Jean-François Rauger who works for Le Monde, and is programmer of the Cinematique Française.
The film was used in a debate by a panel at Rider University's 2010 Film Symposium by Dr. Barry Seldes, Dr. Robert Good, and James Morgart, the topic was the underlying social critique, and the links it has to Marxistic and Nietzschean philosophies. Because of the Holocaust imagery behind the film's iconography, the film is considered to be connected to the Nazi Exploitation genre, by German film historian Florian Evers.
But the film wasn't receive by all in a positive way. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian described it as silly, crass and queasy. New York Magazine's David Edelstein, derided Eli Roth, for in essence creating the torture porn genre, portraying excessive violence as was it a sexual act.
The film had it share of controversy for it visceral content, solved with an R-rated and a ban in certain countries. More troublesome was the way it portrayed Eastern Europe and Slovakia in particular. The countries with Slovakia and Czech Republic leading, were displeased and even disgusted by the fact that their countries were portrayed as uncultured, undevelopped and poor. Adding fuel to the fire was the insinuation that the countries were plagued by high criminality and prostitution, never be able to overcome the war with the Sovjet. The main concern was that people would take the film's portrayal seriously and would result in tourists avoiding Slovakia as a country, fearing that it was indeed a dangerous place. 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.
The tourist board of Slovakia even went so far to invite Eli Roth on an all-expense paid vacation to Slovakia. To prove to him that the country is civilized and not came even close to how he presented it. Eli Roth defended his work by claiming that he never had the intention to offend or insult people, saying that most Americans not even know that Slovakia exists. He never aimed for geographic accuracy, but on the fact that Americans were ignorant to the world around them. The argument that it would damage Slovokia's reputation was refuted by Roth, stating that despite the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (franchise), where people are killed in Texas and had the state clearly in its title, people were still traveling to Texas nevertheless. And not everyone had problems with the film: the former Slovak minister of culture, actor and leading personality of the Public against Violence Movement in 1989, Milan Kňažko, defended the film. He later showed his support for freedom of speech and the film by starring in the sequel film, Hostel: Part II as Sasha Rassimov, the leader and manager of EHC.
2006 Empire Awards:
- Winner: Best Horror Film
Spike TV's Scream Awards
- Winner: Most Memorable Mutilation (The Eye Removal)
- Winner: The "Holy Sh!t"/Jump-From-Your-Seat" Award (The Eye Removal)
- Nominated: Best Horror Movie
Promotional art, coversEdit