Sunday, January 15, 2006

I heart Hostelbees

Miike and Roth with their latest PSA for the Minnesota Logger's Union

Usually don't make one-topic posts, but this merits one. Here are a few reasons why
Hostel is the greatest horror flick I've seen in a long, long time:

- Eli Roth is one of the best horror auteurs in the game right now. The dude is truly aware of his genre and audience and understands the limitations and responsibilties that go along with all of it. A lot of people hated
Cabin Fever, but I was a big fan for a number of reasons. Excellent gore and Rider Strong notwithstanding, I really appreciated his recreated-shot homages to some of his favorite flicks, most notably the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. And you really can't top the mulleted redneck kid doing kung fu while screaming "pancakes pancakes pancakes!" 'Twas twisted and amazing.

- It takes place in Bratislava. If you've got
Slovakian heritage, throw your hands up. Okay, I'll stop now.

- The creepy, creepy cameo from
Takashi Miike shows that Roth really respects the OGs of masterful film violence.

- Ever since the success of
The Ring, American horror screenwriters and directors have been on some "it's scarier if you don't show blood" shit. As a result, dozens of terrible PG-13 horror flicks have come out that truly blow (and, judging by the coming attractions I caught at the theater, dozens more are on the way). The problem is that this formula only applies to scripts and concepts that are actually scary, like the Ju-On series. Suspense trumps flat-out gore if the shit is well-crafted, but the simple fact of the matter is that this cookie-cutter approach has produced nothing but anesthetized, Americanized films (remakes and originals) that just suck. Eli's movie was old-school graphically violent because he wanted it to be graphically violent, and he didn't deviate from his plan once throughout the entire flick. That's the shit.

- Thanks to those quasi-witty instapundit VH1 and E! shows, the movie has made people realize how annoying Europeans must find American backpackers. Also, it's motivated my decision to never, ever, ever even remotely consider trekking around, Europass-style. Which is good, since I don't even have a suitable backpack.

- My dude Justin, with whom I have watched a great number of horror movies, admitted that he came close to passing out during several scenes. That's the mark of a good flick.

- Jay Hernandez surprised me with a ridiculous performance. Before
Hostel, my only exposure to the guy was the ridiculous MTV series Undressed (remember that shit?) and that Crazy/Beautiful flick where he gets straight A's and rawdogs Kirsten Dunst, much to the chagrin of her congressman pop. Jay kills it in this movie, no joke. Without ruining anything, I can say that his character's second-half "quest for vengeance" or whatever you want to call it sealed the deal.

- While it's not the most unpredictable movie I've ever seen, it's certainly less predictable than, say, Must Love Dogs.

- An insane bit part from
Rick Hoffman (who seems to draw from the Jeremy Piven school of Judeo-smarm) made the movie for me.

- Roth can write dialogue in the QT tradition without completely dickriding him. Kudos. Go see
Hostel, you bastards.


kibby said...

drew-- you and i already disussed this on sunday, but i'll just say again what i said then for the sake of all your, uh, readers...
I also loved hostel and so did ryan. However, everyone else that I know hated it! the majority of my friends are jaded horror movie watchers and they all seemed to think that the movie was false advertising because the previews made it seem far gorier than it actually was. They concede that the gory parts were in fact disgusting, but that there weren't enough of them. And its true that the bloody scenes didn't really start until after the second half of the movie, so they have a point. Anyway, their main problem with it is that the movie could and should have been a lot more disgustingly violent and bloody, but I've also heard them say the same shit about Faces of Death, so.... Anyway, I liked it but i thought that it was over the top sexist and homophobic but, hey, what's a horror movie without a little objectification of women and gay bashing?

Drew said...

I felt the same way, but then I figured it was a very accurate portrayal of total frat douchehole dudes/American backpackers. I'm just glad it had the gore it did have, you know? Most recent horror movies involve those stupid Japanese kids scuttling around everywhere- that's scary to a point, but it's been overdone. I was glad to see some old-school torture on the screen again. Man, I sound mentally ill.

Trebuchet said...

Yay, Drew. I'm waiting for the list with baited/bated breath...