They said Eli Roth would be the saviour of horror, but not with his first film, well, not for me anyway. It took a pinch of QT to get the mix just right, here we have a perfect original bag of tricks which works like a 21st Century Twilight Zone.
The plot centres round a group of friends, Paxton, Josh and Oli, back packing across Europe. They are having the time of their lives, but when they hear the tale of a secret magical Hostel, one with a naked spa, a great disco near by with beautiful women, they just know they need to find their Avalon. And it’s real. They arrive, book in, only to find they have to share a room with beautiful women. For a time, all is amazing for the guys, until one of them, Oli, goes missing.
The cast are real good with some interesting and very familiar roles. Jay Hernandez (Paxton), Derek Richardson (Josh) and Eythor Gudjonsson (Oli) are all very believable with Barbara Nedeljakova in the role of one of the babes from the hostel. Another great performance, one of the best in the film and in recent years also comes from Jan Vlasak in a role which plays real homage to Hitchcock, strangers on a train style, offering some teasing information to the young lads to lure them into the unknown. A quality dangerous role, performed perfectly.
The film works for various reasons. It’s fast and easy to watch with and intriguing unknown mystery twisted around its plot. The desire, which the young lads search Europe for is mirrored by the savage, cruel, gory and deadly one which is found at the heart of the underground meat trade masqueraded by the Hostel. The film is probably most famous for its high levels of gore but although this is all pretty nasty stuff, the other stuff going on makes this film work far more than a bit of over the top gore. The crazy young kids on the street demanding cash in exchange for not being beaten to a pulp are a horrific truth which hits home far more than a businessman with a butchers apron.
I loved this film when it was first released, but watching it again now makes the film feel even better. This is creativity, lifting from the genre cauldron, but mixing up a whole new broth. Than god for Eli.