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Hostel

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Eli Roth
Produced by Eli Roth
Quentin Tarantino
Boaz Yakin
Written by Eli Roth
Starring Jay Hernandez
Derek Richardson
Eyþór Guðjónsson
Jennifer Lim
Music by Nathan Barr
Cinematography Milan Chadima
Editing by George Folsey, Jr.
Distributed by Screen Gems
Lions Gate Films
Release date(s) January 6, 2006
Running time 94 min.
Country United States
Language English
Czech
German
Icelandic
Japanese
Dutch
Russian
Slovak
Budget $4.8 million
Gross revenue $80,578,934
Followed by Hostel: Part II

Hostel is a 2005 horror film written, produced and directed by Eli Roth, starring Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Jennifer Lim, Eythor Gudjonsson and Barbara Nedeljáková. Roth's original script was developed by Quentin Tarantino, who also acted as producer on the movie. Due to the graphic nature of this film, its showing has been restricted in certain countries, primarily those with strict censorship policies. The sequel, Hostel: Part II, was released on June 8, 2007.

Contents

Plot

Two college grad students, Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and his friend, Josh (Derek Richardson), along with their Icelandic friend Óli (Eythor Gudjonsson), are backpacking together across Europe on vacation. After being thrown out of a discothèque in Amsterdam, the three visit a brothel, where Josh chickens out of having sex with a very attractive prostitute. When they return to their hostel, they meet a Russian man named Alexei (Lubomir Bukovy) who informs them about an undocumented hostel in Slovakia filled with beautiful, American-loving women.

The three subsequently board a train on which they meet a peculiar businessman (Jan Vlasák), who (more or less) "freaks" Josh out by placing his hand on his thigh. The man moves to another cab on the train immediately after Josh expresses his obvious disapproval of such an unexpected action. The three leave the train at a small Slovakian village (although the station sign shows the name of the Bohemian village of Poříčany), and check into the local hostel, finding themselves sharing a room with two beautiful, single, Russian women Natalya (Barbara Nedeljáková) and Svetlana (Jana Kadeřábková), who entice them into joining them at a spa and a disco. At the disco, Josh is saved by the peculiar businessman whom he had unpleasantly encountered on the train after the businessman intervened and prevented him from being attacked by a gang of impoverished children constantly looking for money and bubblegum. Josh apologizes for his overreaction on the train and buys the businessman a drink, at which point the businessman assures him there are no hard feelings. Later that night, Paxton and Josh have sex with Natalya and Svetlana.

The next morning, Óli is missing. A young Japanese backpacker, Kana (Jennifer Lim), approaches Paxton and Josh, who are searching for Óli, informing them that her friend, Yuki (Keiko Seiko), is strangely missing as well. A MMS photo sent from Yuki's phone shows Yuki and Óli beneath a smokestack of an abandoned factory, with the word "Sayonara" written beneath it. Not long after, Paxton and Josh receive a second MMS photo message from Óli's phone, in which their Icelandic friend appears in a closeup face shot with the text "I go home" accompanying the image. Then, the scene shifts to the source of the photo, revealing Óli's decapitated head sitting on a table in a dark, dungeon-like room with a man in surgeon-like attire leaving the room. Under a feeling of intense discomposure and suspicion, Paxton and Josh decide to leave Bratislava with Kana the following day. They spot a man wearing Óli's jacket at a museum of medieval torture relics. Paxton later notices that the MMS photo of Oli and Yuki has been feigned. Although Josh is anxious to leave immediately, Paxton talks him into staying just one more night, so they can have sex with Natalya and Svetlana one more time. Josh reluctantly agrees. Later that night, while partying with Natalya and Svetlana, Paxton and Josh pass out, having been slipped tranquilizers. Josh stumbles back to the hostel while Paxton passes out in the disco's storage room, where he is inadvertently locked in for the night.

The next day, Josh wakes up handcuffed to a chair in a dungeon-like room with a bag over his head and sees a man entering the room; it is the businessman. After he examines the tools on a table, while Josh asks to be released, the businessman chooses a drill and begins torturing Josh by drilling him in both of his pectorals just above his nipples and in his thighs. After he is done, the businessman sits down and tells Josh his unfulfilled dream of being a surgeon. Josh desperately begs him to let him go. The businessman puts on the facade of complying but really cuts Josh's Achilles tendon. He then frees Josh from his chair and tells him that he is "free to go". However, when Josh gets up, he falls over and tries to crawl to the door. The businessman then brutally murders him by slicing his throat. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of town, Paxton comes to and returns to the hostel this time, much to his chagrin, to find both Josh and Kana missing. In his room, there are a different pair of beautiful women inviting him to a spa, eerily similar to Natalya and Svetlana. Paxton merely observes them suspiciously, with a look of confusion and discomposure on his face, realizing something is definitely amiss. When the local police chief (Miroslav Táborský) proves unhelpful, Paxton locates Natalya and Svetlana at a dismal bar. The two women are without make-up, looking very rough and different. Paxton furiously interrogates them on the whereabouts of Josh, and the two girls lie to him, telling him that Josh and Óli went to an "art show" together where the factory is. Although Natalya and Svetlana tell Paxton to relax and have a drink, he is furiously unyielding and demands he be taken to where Josh and Óli are. Natalya and the man she is sitting with comply, and they begin to leave the bar to take Paxton to the factory. When Paxton looks back to Svetlana and asks if she is coming, she replies, "I already seen this show." Once Paxton enters the factory, he shockingly witnesses the businessman cutting up Josh's corpse. He is then ambushed by thugs and is taken to a cell and restrained in a chair, joined minutes later by a German client, Johann (Petr Janiš), who tortures him, slicing off two of Paxton's fingers, but at the same time, unintentionally and unknowingly cutting Paxton's hand restraints. When Johann realizes that Paxton speaks his native language, he requests one of the staff thugs place a ball gag in his victim's mouth. However, the continuation of Paxton's torture causes him to vomit, and thus, Johann removes the gag. Johann runs toward Paxton with a chainsaw but slips on the spot of blood from the slicing off of Paxton's fingers and cuts his own leg off. Paxton gets himself out of the chair and shoots Johann in the head.

He escapes, disguising himself as a client. He hears Kana's screams and decides to rescue her. Paxton locates Kana and kills the man torturing her. Kana's face is badly disfigured. The two flee in a car from the building and get chased by some of the guards. While driving away Paxton sees Natalya and Svetlana talking to Alexei, confirming his involvement, and Paxton runs the three of them over, killing them. With the help of the child gang, Paxton and Kana elude the guards and head to the train station. When Kana sees a reflection of her disfigured face at the station, she jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Aboard the train, Paxton hears the voice of the businessman and in Vienna follows him to a public restroom and throws the Elite Hunting's card under his stall. When the businessman reaches down to pick it up, Paxton cuts off two of his fingers, then slices his throat, and slams his head into the toilet with blood flowing all over the floor. Paxton then boards a train leaving Vienna. (In an alternate ending available on the DVD, Paxton gets revenge by spiriting away the businessman's young daughter. When the businessman emerges from the men's room his daughter is gone and he calls her name in anguish as we see her leaving on a train with Paxton holding his hand over her mouth to quiet her cries.)

Cast

Actor Character
Jay Hernandez Paxton
Derek Richardson Josh
Eyþór Guðjónsson Óli
Jan Vlasák The Dutch Businessman
Barbara Nedeljáková Natalya
Jana Kaderabkova Svetlana
Jennifer Lim Kana
Keiko Seiko Yuki
Lubomir Bukovy Alexei
Jana Havlickova Vala
Rick Hoffman The American Client
Petr Janis Johan, the German Surgeon
Takashi Miike Miike Takashi
Patrik Zigo The Bubblegum Gang Leader
Milda Jedi Havlas Desk Clerk Jedi
Miroslav Taborsky Police Officer

Production

Despite the fact that most of the movie is set in a small fictional location near Bratislava, Slovakia, actually not a single sequence was shot in Slovakia. The filming locations were at the Barrandov Studios, Prague and in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. In addition to the lower costs of filming in the Czech Republic, Barrandov has well-equipped sound stages, making it a popular choice for US productions set in Europe. 95% of the film was shot on location in and around Prague, and the stage was only used for the main torture rooms.

Originally the part of the business man, eventually played by Jan Vlasak, was offered to producer Quentin Tarantino who turned it down only to regret it upon seeing the finished film.

Reception

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Box office

The film's opening weekend North American box office gross was $19.5 million, making it the top grossing film that weekend. It went on to gross a total of $47.2 million in the U.S. The film's budget was around $4.5 million,[1] and the film went on to gross over $80 million dollars at the box office worldwide.

Reviews

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 59% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 97 reviews.[2] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 55 out of 100, based on 21 reviews.[3]

Some of the Slovak public and their government attacked the film for its violence, while Roth defended it as a commentary on Americans' reluctance to travel far from home and ignorance of other cultures.[4] Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw noted that Hostel was "actually silly, crass and queasy. And not in a good way".[5] David Edelstein of New York Magazine was equally negative deriding director Roth with creating the horror sub-genre 'torture porn,' or 'gorno,' using excessive violence to excite audiences like a sexual act.[6] Jean-François Rauger, film critic for Le Monde, a French newspaper, and programmer of the Cinémathèque Française, listed Hostel as the best American film of 2006, calling it an example of modern consumerism.[7] Hostel won the 2006 Empire Award for Best Horror Film.

Slovak reaction to setting

The film's release was accompanied by strong complaints from the country of Slovakia, and also from the Czech Republic. Slovak officials were disgusted by the film's portrayal of their country as an undeveloped, poor and uncultured land suffering from high criminality, war and prostitution,[8] fearing that it would "damage the good reputation of Slovakia" and make foreigners feel that it was a dangerous place to be.[4] The tourist board of Slovakia invited Roth on an all-expense paid trip to their country so he could see that it's not made up of run down factories and kids who kill for bubble gum. Tomáš Galbavý, a Slovak Member of Parliament, commented: "I am offended by this film. I think that all Slovaks should feel offended."[4]

Defending himself, Roth said that the film was not meant to be offensive, arguing that "Americans do not even know that this country exists. My film is not a geographical work but aims to show Americans' ignorance of the world around them."[4][9] Roth has repeatedly argued that despite the many films in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, people still go to Texas.[10][11]

References

External links


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