January 12, 2006

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FILM: Hostel (R)

by Amy Diaz

American college students stupid their way into a house of horrors in the jolly gore-filled Hostel, a movie blessed by Quentin Tarantino.

Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) are two American college students set loose on Europe to commit acts of standard fratboy behavior: namely, partying and bedding as many accented babes as possible. Along with a fellow traveler of Icelandic origin, Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson), the boys sleaze around Amsterdam until they are tipped off to greener pastures. Deep in Slovakia, they are told, is a hostel full of hot girls just itching for doofus Americans.

The boys arrive, all eager, and are not disappointed. Each one hooks up on his very first night. The next day the boys awake to find themselves happy but lighter — Oli has disappeared. The next night, the boys go out again and, after imbibing even more Slovakian-hottie-provided drugs, Josh staggers back to the hostel and passes out. When he awakes, he finds himself strapped to a chair and about to be sliced into by a client of what turns out to be something of a bordello of death. Instead of trapping helpless Soviet bloc girls into a life of prostitution, Soviet bloc girls lure Western idiots into a gruesome death at the hands of paying customers. Most like to prolong the agony, clipping off toes or digging eyeballs out of sockets.

Like head-butting, beer-fueled 19-year-old boys, Hostel is dumb and violent and does nothing to make you think it is anything else. None of the hack scenes themselves surprise (ooo — we’ve never seen anybody wield a chain saw before) but the subtle mockery of the film at itself is, well, refreshing like a spray of blood and smattering of gore that’s been dressed up with a sprig of mint.

C+