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Weekend at Bernie's 3: Porky's 4: Eurotrip 2: Van Wilder 3: Perfect Strangers 2: Audition 2: Hostel Review

by Doom, the Red Fox, Generalissimo Furioso and Nixon

guest starring Takeshi Miike and Eli Roth

All Eastern Europeans are evil.


There's a new hack sheriff in town. After years and years and years of fake Japanese horror, it finally seems as though America has fought back to take its rightful place as the king of thrills, chills and kills. Films made recently in the past 3 or 4 years have been shedding the constraints of being scared by a little girl or a little boy and taken on the style of...throwback slashers. House of Wax, The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre...all of these forgo the new style and return to the old of sexy teens being cut up by strange freaks. But with a new twist! Instead of impulsively killing their prey, these nutbars do so with meticulous, tortuous precision. The difference may be little to you, but it's much easier to masturbate to for the fetishists in the audience. I'll admit it. I miss Jap horror. When compared to shit like Hostel and other 'ripped from Abu Ghraib' shit, meowing boys is almost fun. Almost.

Hostel follows three-twenty something college fucks around Europe as they engage in a stereotypical trip of drugs and copious amounts of sex. After seeing all the Netherlands has to offer (dope and about 59 boob shots), they head to Eastern Europe after a Dutch man tells them of a mystical land of loose women and cheap rooms, Slovakia. There they engage in more drinking, more sex scenes, and more bad characterization. We get it, one of them is the reliable one. There's no way he could X; it's totally not him! Eventually, the three twenty somethings meet up with some loose local women and shortly thereafter two of them disappear, drugged and dragged off to an abandoned industrial building (one of only two things Eastern Europe apparently has, the other being bars) where they are subsequently offed in short order. Yes, it turns out the town they came to isn't just about cheap liquor and breasts; it's actually a death trap tourists are lured into to be snatched up by a company that gets paid to let rich businessmen kill them. I mean, we all knew Eastern Europe was evil what with that communism thing and all, but now we know they love torturing people. It's not just us at Guantanamo Bay anymore! Nevertheless, the third of three generic friends doesn't get caught when he's drugged due to mistaking a storage closet for a toilet (idiots have that problem a lot). He gets captured later, but escapes through some events that would work best in a cartoon with slide whistle effect, saves some Japanese girl who was introduced earlier and subsequently kills herself because yadda yadda honor, she is disfigured, aso! aso! etc. He kills the guy who originally lured them to the town, the film ends. Oh, and he runs over the local whores before he leaves the town. Something about the town's children being violent apes, too. The basic idea here is that there really isn't much going on in the film. It's tits and ass, then some drilling of flesh, then panicky music, then the credits roll. Boom, scariest film ever.

For a film that was lauded as being gruesome/violent beyond imagination, Hostel doesn't have much going on. Basically, for anyone who has seen a Takashi Miike film, this is basically a screensaver. After watching nearly an hour of R-rated semi-porn, the film spends maybe 30 minutes showing the whole torture house that's supposed to be the film's showcase, which apparently entails some clips of guys drilling people's legs, then some Achilles' Tendon slashing, a few quickcuts/background shots of weirder stuff, and a chainsaw bit. A chainsaw bit tamer than anything in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A few shot people and the film's gore part wraps up. The quality of the gore's pretty bad too. A few of the shots are decent, but there's also the bad puss and general "fake blood" feel to the film. And since the film is supposed to be serious frightening not over-the-top blood, having ketchup all over the place isn't that fitting. Let me give you a hint, filmmaker: when the torture on 24 is more gruesome, you're fucked. Especially when the editing on 24 isn't as "PULL AWAY TO AVOID SHOWING THE AUDIENCE THE ACTUAL GRUESOME ACT" as Hostel's is. I can think of many scenes in Ichi the Killer that feature more violence. Hell, all of the Ichi scenes have more violence. Even the nonviolent ones.

As it turns out, the makers of this film believe all of Eastern Europe is still controlled by Nazi Germany. The police here are all dressed in Nazi S.S. gear, only being green this time instead of black, coupled with complete control of areas with check points and good old fashioned random beatings. They like to imprison people unjustly and kill them. Let's face it - they think everybody from America is Jewish, which would fall in with the Nazis very nicely. Entire villages conspire to kill innocent civilians from the West by luring them into decrepit buildings. Even the kids are portrayed as unruly gangs of barely human monsters. Few modern structures, no commerce, little infrastructure at all. I guess the Czech Republic took all the non-warehouse district parts of Czechoslovakia. The only difference between the Nazis and these people is that the Nazis were actually interestingly sickening people and could successfully kill people without having them get away. I'm pretty sure Roth could have come up with some slightly more inspired people to rip off.

The entire premise of the story and the 'hostel' is the worst that has ever been created, being simply a vehicle to show some poorly done torture scenes for extended periods of time. You may think the last statement was hyperbole; it's not. The whole idea is basically people pay money to torture others tricked into entering the torture chamber. A sound idea, as some people just do like to kill each other, but the entire idea as executed in the film is just so terrible. Lure some teens into an Eastern European city in order to sell them off to the highest bidder makes so much sense except for one tiny thing: who would really want to torture a few skuzzy American guys to death? Oh sorry, some of the torturers were very gay Dutch guys, but that is besides the point. In reality, it would probably be very difficult to keep this business going, as many people would be reported missing in one specific area, yet nobody raises any alarm. Even though most of these people are from other countries that would at least try to find the missing. It would be most likely that this group of killers would be caught fairly quickly since foreign powers would get involved, then again that would only happen in the real world and not the terrible fictional one of Hostel. I think Eli Roth believes Slovakia is still in the dark ages insofar as it doesn't trade with other nations. Hell, Roth's Slovakia thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth and not t'other way round.

Eli Roth. What can be said about a man whose sole talent in life is making it seem like teenagers are slowly being cut to pieces for some reason? Well, you could start by calling him a talentless waste of space and working your way from there. But knowing America (and I know America pretty damn well), he's going to be called the next Alfred Hitchcock or whosits (you know, the fat guy who directed Misery), because Americans tend to enjoy watching blood and shit rather than genuinely being scared through the use of suspense and mystery. Eli Roth may very well be the worst director working in Hollywood today. He has no ideas. He has no talent. He cannot build suspense, horror or characters at all. Every action or plot progression is telegraphed miles away. The whole Great Escape part of Hostel, for example, was ridiculously unsubtle and unsuspenseful. Predicting what happens in Hostel ahead of time is easier than screwing a blonde girl lacking high self-esteem. People claim he's the new master of horror, yet the darkest Hostel gets is a guy losing his fingers, or a Japanese girl having fake eye goo coming out of her socket. No message behind it all, either, other than "I like money" or "People from foreign countries are niggers". His entire methodology seems to comprise writing scripts based around the phrase "Wouldn't it be cool if..." MICHAEL BAY MK 2: WORSE THAN EVER.

Which really underscores the fundamental problem with Hostel - for all his love of disparate good influences, like Miike, Tsukemoto and Quentin Tarantino, Roth cannot figure out how to be like them in terms of innovating or, shit, just making something tolerable to watch. He takes his influences and...goes on to make something entirely generic and retarded. I saw no ripping off of, say, Audition, or Ichi, or any of the other great shock-horror films spawned from Asia and other parts of the world in the last ten years...just falling onto the bandwagon of torture porn, which began in 2003-2004. He tries to develop the three fratboy protagonists, which is a bad idea because they're annoying fucks which earn no sympathy at all from the audience. By the way, the villains suck as well; gay Europeans don't strike fear in the hearts of anyone but the extremely homophobic. In fact, all the characters suck. They're all either ethnic stereotypes or braindead morons (sometimes both!). The grotesque is front and center, yes, like in Ichi the Killer, but in a clichéd and uninteresting way; instead of memorable and bizarre characters, situations and dialogue, it's essentially every other torture chamber known to man in the last 100 years, real or fictional. And it bears more than a little resemblance to other popular torture snuff franchise Saw, aka Se7en II, insofar as both Saw and Hostel have bad actors kidnapped and brutalized by boring or stupid villains, with the mundane torture sequences (rife with quick cutting and obfuscation of the really nasty bits) hyped up by losers who've never seen anything good. I guess Roth was banking on people liking him because he likes what they like. Didn't work.

To share his thoughts, and to explain why the fuck he cameoed in Hostel, Takashi Miike (of Ichi the Killer and Audition fame) will now join us.

I don't get it. I do not get your American horror films. In Japan, not only do we direct several films per year, we do many different kinds. This Eli Roth person, who sent letters to me everyday for 6 years to convince me to appear in his Hostel, does only one in one year and believes he deserves accolades for it. I watched this entire movie in my house today and was disgusted and sickened...by how bad it was! The fellow had millions of dollars to make the vilest picture ever, and he takes advantage of none of the resources given to him by the American studio system. I directed movies with budgets less than $1 million that were scarier or better produced than Eli Roth's product. Where's the torture? Where's the blood? I remember when filming Ichi the Killer, the splatter effects on Tashibana's chopped off foot were much more entertaining than the twitchy finger editing of the toe cutting or the power drilling of Hostel. I think you Americans do not know how to make films. Except David Lynch. He is good. The rest of you are terrible. I once ended a film with the world exploding. This one ends with a head in a toilet. Just because you like Miike, does not mean you can direct like the Miike.

Wow! Quite the thrashing Mr. Miike gave it and our good buddy Eli Roth. For fairness' sake, here's everyone's least favorite director, Eli Roth.

Hey, Daily Raider! I'm Eli Roth, horror extraordinaire. I'd just, like, like to say how glad I am you guys watched my movie. I just, like, totally, uh, want to explain a few things. Like, I made Eastern Europe evil and backward to show, like, the human condition and how Americans are so ignorant of what Europe is really like. These guys, the Hostelers I call them, they think Europe is all fun and games and chicks, when it's really a dark Soviet Nazi torture gulag whatever. So it's not just a great setting for horror, it's geopolitical commentary on our role in the world at large. Also, boobs. I love 'em! Why wouldn't I? I'm a man! If you disagreed with the level of cheap titillation in Hostel, you're gay. And I also have to take issue with characterization of the torture scenes in many reviews. They're like the scenes in Audition or Ichi, only BETTER. None of this plot crap, just drilling holes in legs and chainsaws everywhere. I wanted to be more like Hitchcock in that I wanted to imply the torture, so I didn't show a lot of it. Yep, that's me! The new Hitchcock. I gotta get going, since I'm gonna FUCK SOME CHICKS, so, like, see you guys later!

All Hostel teaches us is it's okay to abduct and kill people when they're stupid fucking annoying fratboys from America who deserve nothing but pain and suffering for the rest of their lives from gay Germans and Dutch guys. It can also be considered a prank gone horribly wrong, something you would see videotaped and put on www.collegehumor.com. I think it's fitting that Hostel ends with the camera looking directly at a toilet.

How many drinks do I need for this to be good?: 900
Mastur-factor: -30
The Stinger: Quentin Tarantino is grooming Eli Roth to become the horror version of him.
Lesson Learned: Don't leave America, unless you want death.