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 planned of 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 tourist in side. One of these places would be Slovakia. Although Óli is interested, Paxton and Josh held off the boat until they got some trouble with their neighbours in Amsterdam. They took Alexi's proposition and the next day, they take 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, this before he touched Josh' leg. John starts to flip and this results in the man, embarrased by the incident, leaving the compartment. When they arrived in Slovakia, they check in the hostel, Alexi told them about and at first he appeared to have been talking the truth as on arrival, they meet two women, Svetlana and Natalya, who invited them to the spa, and later to the disco. But although the village looked pittoresk, it seemed to have a few dark secrets, one in the form of a group of children that mugs people. These children, known as the Bubblegum gang, demands money of Josh once but he is saved by the Dutch businessman, they met on the train. A bit embarrasment by this coincidence, Josh offers him a drink and apologizes for his earlier reaction on the train.
When the night falls, Josh and Paxton ended up in bed with respectively Svetlana and Natalya, as Óli has his way with a deskgirl, named Vala. But to the surprise of Paxton and Josh, Óli hasn't 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 disappeared aswell. The last picture she has received from Yuki, was a selfie of her and Josh. Shortly after, Kana get a message of Yuki: Sayonara, while Paxton and Josh get a message of Óli who claims that he went home. Unbeknownst to them, Óli didn't send the message as his debodied head is placed on a table while a man in leather apron and an jumpsuit is leaving the dungeon where we find his head.
But Josh doesn't trust the situation and ask Paxton to leave the place, but the latter convinced him to stay for one more night. But at a party that night, both are drugged with tranquillizers. Paxton knocks out in a closet of the disco while returned to the hostel. When Paxton wakes up the next morning in the closet, not knowing that Josh's fate was far worse. Josh wakes up in a dungeon-like room, chained to a chair and only wearing an underpants. Panicking he starts screaming but then he met a man wearing a orange jumpsuit and a surgeon mask. To his horror, he sees a series of power- and garden tools. Without any warning, the man grabbed the power drill and despite Josh protest and pleadings, the man started to drill his thighs and his chest muscles. While almost going into shock, the man removes his mask, revealing him to be the Dutch Bussinessman. He reveals that he had a failed carreer dream, as he wanted to be a surgeon, before threatening Josh a bit more. When Josh asked for his freedom, the man seemed to comply and he opened the door for him. But before he removed his handcuffs, the man used a scalpel to cut his achilles tendons. Being unable to walk or even stand, Josh crawls to the door but when he is almost there, the man grabs him from behind and cuts his throat with the scalpel.
When Paxton arrives at the Hostel, he was unable to find Josh. Things became worse when the clerk told him to that they already had checked out. When he returns to his hostel room, he gets a similar proposal then given to him by Svetlana and Natalya. While trying to find out what happened to Josh, he soon learns that he can't count on the authories as they seems to be unwilling to help him or take him serious. In a torture museum, he sees a man who he thought to be Óli, based on the vest the man wears. 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 looked after Svetlana and Natalya, eventually finding them in a bar, commanding them to bring him to Josh. Natalya reveals to him that Josh and Óli were visiting an art exhibit. He quickly learns that he walks into a trap with eyes wide open. In the factory where 'the art exhibit' would take place, he sees the Dutch Businessman working on his own 'artwork'. Living his longlife dream of being a surgeon, the man performs surgical procedures on the mutilated corpse of Josh. The Dutch Businessman is angry to be bothered while 'working', slamming his door shut. Paxton steps away in horror and when he turns around, to demand an explanation, Natalya laughed at him. She explains that she got a lot of mony for him, making him 'her bitch'. Before he could do anything, he is quickly grabbed by two guards and dragged to a cell. On the road to his cell, he witnessed some of the horrors of the Elite Hunting Club.
Shortly after he was chained to a chair, a German client, named Johan, arrives in the cell. As Johan threats Paxton with several tools, the latter managed to figure out he is German and tries to convince him not to do this. His constant pleading is off putting for Johan who demands a guard to silence Paxton. The guard complies with gagging Paxton and leaving Johan alone with Paxton. When Johan threatens Paxton with a chainsaw, Paxton vomits and almost suffocate due to the ball gag in his mouth. Not wanting Paxton to die that way, he removes the gag, causing Paxton to vomit on the ground. Johan tries to attack Paxton again with the chainsaw but does it so poorly that he not only cut off two of Paxton's fingers but also chained through the handcuffs, freeing Paxton. Trying to make up for his mistake, Johan tried to attack once more with the chainsaw, only to slip on the gag, falling down and severs his own leg. Paxton uses this incident to grab a gun and shoot Johan through the head before he could tip off any guards. Imitating the man, he called a guard in German before killing him as well before escaping the room.
Taking his severed fingers with him, he flees into another room and hide on a cart with corpses when he hears a strange sound. The sound was a Butcher who came to retrieve the cart, putting some extra bodies on it, one being Josh and destroy the bodies. In the butcher room, the man cuts up body parts before cremating them, Paxton accidently he drops his severed fingers and the butchers burns them as well. While the man cuts up more body parts, Paxton sees his chance to crawl from the cart and kill the man by sneaking up from behind and bash his skull in. Paxton quickly escapes to the upper levels, using the top elevator and enters the dressing rooms. He dresses himself with clothing he found, hiding his mutilated hand in leather gloves. But this way he quickly learn what was going on and who these peoples were. He finds a bussiness card of the organization, naming it EHC: Elite Hunting Club. With the card in his possession, an American customer mistakes him for another customer and asks him how he should go to work: fast or slow. He also shows him a handwritten price list, showing that Americans were more expensive than for example local tourists. Paxton advices the American to do it fast but the man eventually ignores this advice as it is his time to go.
Once he is almost outside, he is drawn back inside the factory by the screaming of a woman. Against his better judgement, he went back inside to see if he could help the person. He finds the girl and recognize her as Kana, the girl he and Josh met after Óli disappeared. Her torturer was also a familiar face, he is the American he met before. As the American recognized him immediately, he doesn't understand what is going on, trying to send him away, claiming he paid for he was doing now and had all right to do what he was doing, namely burning Kana's face with a blowtorch. Paxton shoot the man throught the head, and tries to free Kana who begs him to cut 'it' away. The thing that cause her so much pain and distress was her limp eye and to help her, Paxton granted her wish and cut the eye nerve. To up the gore factor, the cut nerve leaked a yellow secretation. Together they are able to escape the factory, stealing a car of the EHC to drive to the trainstation. They are closely followed by the guards of the EHC. While driving throught the streets of a village, trying to outrun the guards, he comes across Svetlana, Natalya and Alexi. Wanting revenge on the people who put him through this ordeal, he run them over, killing them in the process. Then he encounters the Bubblegum Gang again but managed to a way by offering them a large bag of bubblegum, to let them pass and stop the guards from following them. They obligde by killing the guards by throwing stones at their car and their heads. Making them able to escape. In the trainstation, the police is now closing in on them, proving the point that they were in fact corrupted and worked for EHC. But before they would apprehended, Kana ensured the perfect distraction: after she saw her disfigured face in the reflection of window, she decided to commit suicide and jumped under an oncoming freight train. While the cops are distracted by the suicide, Paxton managed to escape on a train to Austria. To his horror, he discovers that the Dutch business man is on the train.
In Vienna, he follows the man to the public restroom and enter the toilet stall next to him. In the toilet stall, he drops the EHC business card, so the Dutch man can read it. When he reach out for the car, Paxton quickly grabs his hand and cut of two fingers with a knife as Paxton losed two fingers because of the EHC. As soon as the fingers are cut off, Paxton runs in the toilet, drowned the man in the toilet, before cutting his throat, while making sure that the man sees it coming. While the man bleeds out in the toilet, Paxton leaves Vienna on another train.
- 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