Hostel - Is it too much to ask to be scared by a horror movie these days?

Duration: 95min
Category: horror
Available: On DVD
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Is it too much to ask to be scared and disturbed by a horror movie these days?

This is what I wanted from Hostel: I wanted to have to cover my eyes because what I was seeing was too disturbing. I wanted an examination into the darkness of the human heart which leads to torture and depravity. I wanted to be at least frightened.

Did any of this happen? No.

Hostel is a complete rip off. It barely gives you a few quick glimpses of torture, just enough to suggest a vague feeling but never enough to make one queasy or upset. The gore is surprisingly downplayed and is no where near the level of mainstream blockbusters like Se7en or Reservoir Dogs.

The gore is pathetically bad. There is the infamous eyeball-hanging-out-of-socket scene that looks like a 12 year old made it out of clay. Itís hard to be grossed out by something that looks like spaghetti sauce and Jello instead ofÖ oh, I donít knowÖ maybe a real eye!!

Itís not even good in the suspense department. Itís fairly cookie cutter and predictable. Also, itís mercifully short so there isnít enough time to really create believable characters with real motivations or any semblance of suspense. Instead, you just go through the motions knowing exactly what is going to happen next. If you donít, there is one of those stupid scores that cues the spooky music at just the right moments.

Then there is all the subliminal messages this formula Hollywood fare sends out so that its target audience will leave happy. The film ends very reassuringly with a heroic rescue by the American lead. Now the whole point of a movie aimed at looking into the darker side of things should leave us feeling uneasy and unsure. A movie like this needs the hero to come in and save the day, punish the evil doers and set things right. Hostel provides all that so that audiences uncomfortable with thinking about things can leave feeling entertained instead of disturbed.

There is an ugly, xenophobic message underlying Hostel. The Euro accent and images are used to define the ďotherĒ as whorish, terrorist and psychopathic. Thank God for the good old USA. Is there a Bush agenda here?

Hostel follows the horror tradition of over moralizing, making sure those who dabble in drugs and sex are punished for their dirty deads. Is there a Jerry Faldwell agenda here?

The only disturbing thing coming out of Hostel is the hypocracy of this film coming from a country actively advocating torture in real life. Now that's horror.

If I am going to a scary/horror/gore movie I want that movie to disturb, horrify and chill me to my core. I donít want some silly exercise is soft core porn and Jason and Freddy style pretend gore.

Until director Eli Roth is ready to step up to the table and make something really scary he should stop pretending to be a horror director.

Review By: Collin Smith

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