Author’s Note: All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.
Article written by Maggie K. Ward
Three backpackers, Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson), and Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) head to Slovakia in search of the hottest, horniest women. Their arrogance is paired with the horrors of a foreign city with terrifying surprises.
The Hostel franchise brings viewers an interesting concept: how much would you pay to kill someone? And in return, how much is your life worth to you? Hostel introduces the Elite Hunting Club, an organization that deals in the business of selling people for others to kill. The first film in the series is told from the prey’s point of view. We witness their capture and their torture by strangers.
The eerie part about Josh’s death is the fact that he has already met his killer. He met this Dutch businessman on a train and over reacted to a potentially homosexual (but unlikely) gesture. The next time he meets the Dutch businessman he is handcuffed to a chair in his underwear, and tortured to death.
The torture itself isn’t shown in great detail. The power of editing, allows the creators to use the viewers’ imaginations against them. We see the Dutch businessman put a drill to Josh’s knee but the scene cuts to torture equipment and miscellaneous scenery. We hear Josh scream, and even see a close up of the drill penetrating the skin, but the torture itself merely teases the audience. Painful reactions to off screen attacks, and blood effects take the place to the visuals.
Paxton’s torture (or lack thereof) is very different. Clearly the torturer is nervous and Paxton lashes back by informing him in German, “If you kill me, it’ll destroy your life.” Both torturer and victim send mentally torturous blows, but Paxton’s comment causes the torturer to storm from the room and bring back a gagging device to shut him up.
According to IMDb, more than 150 gallons of blood were used in the filming of Hostel. The scene with the best use of blood was the “butcher.” After the torturers are done with their victims, what’s left of them are piled onto a cart and taken to the butcher to chop them into smaller bits and destroy them. Blood and body parts are everywhere. The details in this room are amazing. Blood is smeared on the floor, body parts are piled on a table, and walls are covered with splashes of blood. Even the butcher has blood splattered across his clothes and face.
In the original Hostel film, we get a taste for what the experience is like from the eyes of the torturer. While Paxton is attempting to escape, he finds one of the torturer’s coat and gloves, and puts them on. Another killer comes in the room and nonchalantly discusses the stupidity of the outfits. He asks Paxton if he enjoyed the experience and chatters on about the cost and his expectations. This concept, the story from the killers’ eyes, is explored deeper in the second film.
Paxton stupidly runs back inside to save a girl her hears screaming. It turns out this victim belongs to his new “buddy.” He shoots him, and releases the screaming girl. Here’s the best part (the use of the word “best” can be disputed): Paxton decides it’s a good idea to cut off this poor woman’s eyeball that is dangling out of its socket. Ugh. Disgusting. The cherry on this sundae is the disgusting yellow liquid the pours out of her eye socket. Makes me gag every time. Good job Eli Roth.
Honestly, when I first saw this movie, I couldn’t see beyond the surface. I assumed it was needless violence for the sake of violence. However, a few years later I am able to watch this film from a new perspective. Certainly months of studying torture porn as a sub genre of horror has helped me to understand why violence in cinema has taken the drivers seat. All in all, I give this film a positive rating, and recommend it only to those who don’t mind a bit of violence.
Have Questions or Comments? Feel free to e-mail me at: MKHorror@yahoo.com