Movies: Hostel

Yesterday we went to see Hostel, a new “Quentin Tarantino Presents” film written and directed by Eli Roth.

I had not read anything on the film, so had no real expectations going in except for Tarantino’s name on the film. I’m a big fan, so I’ll basically go see anything his name is on. Aside from that, however; I knew nothing about the film at all, not even the basic story line. I would recommend you go into the movie the same way. If you have read any of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes or other review sites, you might find that you know too much to be as shocked as I was and that in a vague way too much of the plot is given away, even on the non-spoiler sites.

Now, on to the movie. The movie is about two kids, Josh and Paxton, going to college who have decided to take a backpacking trip through Europe. Along the way they have befriended an Icelandic man named Oli and the three of them are making their way through the Hostels in Europe, in search of, you guessed it, getting high and getting lucky with European women. Josh has just broken up with his girlfriend, so Paxton and Oli are trying to get him hooked up with someone along the trip to help him forget his problems.

They go out one night in Amsterdam and wind up being out after curfew and cannot get into their Hostel. They are taken in by a guy who smokes some pot with them and tells them about a Hostel not on the usual maps where the women love American men and “will do anything for them”. This is enough to get the three trekking towards this off the map Hostel.

Once they get to the new Hostel and check in, they go to their room, which is shared with two women. They are invited by the women to go to the spa with the three women and begin to have a good time. The women are very “hospitable” and Josh and Paxton get lucky with their respective female roommate as Oli (“The King of Swing”) finds someone to hook up with as the night ends.

Then Oli disappears. Checking at the desk, the boys are told that he checked out early this morning. The boys are worried and try repeatedly to call and leave notes for Oli, but he doesn’t respond. They are shown a picture of him that has been taken showing he went off with the girl he met. The guys think this is weird, as he made no effort to let them know he was leaving — and the girls invite Paxton and Josh to go to the disco with them to distract them from their fear for their friend.

At this point in the movie, you are absolutely convinced that this movie is your typical “freaky homicidal maniac kidnapping and killing people” type of movie. It isn’t — not by a long shot — and that is all I’m going to tell you about the plot of the movie. The rest you just have to see for yourself.

Here’s what I will tell you. The twist of what this movie is actually about is on the order of the The Sixth Sense, but about 100 times more disturbing. As we were walking out of the theater I was completely quiet, trying to come to terms with what I had just witnessed. I have never seen a movie that I found this disturbing and that I had thought about so much after the ending credits had rolled.

So to get to the bottom line, here’s the review. The movie is totally worth seeing and I’d give it at least 3.5 stars on a scale of 4. Rotten Tomatoes currently shows a 69% fresh rating. I’d give it higher than that, as I think its definitely original and not the same recycled plot lines that you find in your typical horror movies. Its definitely unique and extremely disturbing. The movie is full of nudity and what seems like gratuitous violence. As the plot unwinds, however, the violence seems less gratuitous (at least it did to me) and necessary in order to communicate the gravity of the final destination of the plot line.

Normally, I enjoy watching horror movies with Kelsi. I would definitely sit down and watch Saw with her, another movie that I really enjoyed for its originality and total non-hollywood feel it had. I’ve yet to find a horror movie that I wouldn’t buy and sit down and watch with Kelsi if I liked it.

Until now. I don’t think I ever want to see this movie again. I don’t want to watch it, and I don’t want to own it when it comes out on DVD. I think it was a great movie, but the final destination of the plot line is something I never, ever want to see again — as it explores what I think is the darkest side of human nature and one that, quite frankly, I would rather kid myself that it doesn’t exist.

So for me, the movie was extremely satisfying, in a warped way. I finally hit my limit as to what I am willing to watch in a movie — but for different reasons that what I have experienced in the past. Normally, I am frustrated at wasting money on stupid plot lines or over produced special effects that are there for the sake of having the effects. I usually have a movie push the limits I have around feeling like I’ve wasted my time.

My limit here was completely different. This movie had an interesting plot, let you get to know the characters well enough to care about them and then pushed you right over the edge. The subject matter was such that it was real enough that it could possibly happen and yet so disturbing that you don’t want to think about the fact that it could actually happen, if that makes any sense. In some ways, I felt that the subject matter was just one of those things that should never be put on film, which is satisfying in and of itself.

I would definitely recommend that those who don’t find nudity and a lot of violence patently offensive actually go to see the film for the experience. I was pretty blown away by it.