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Hostel

Eli Roth's Hostel is pretty much American Pie written by Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Performing an autopsy on this bitter bloodbath is like sifting through a Chicken McNugget looking for something that resembles any part of a chicken. But like every act of violence, Hostel demands interpretation, begs to be made sense of beyond its grisly details.
Hostel is about a pair of blandly good-looking college kids gone wild in Europe who find themselves transformed into pleasure toys. The film makes the case that sexuality and sadism are linked – that the torture chamber and the pleasure dome are just two parts of the same building – but it is also itself a celebration of sadism and violence. 
Paxton and Josh (Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson) are backpacking across Europe in search of a good time. Although much of the first quarter of the film is devoted to scenes showing topless girls, the sex scenes are forensic with all the sensual allure of Nanook of the North in 7th-grade science class. The boys are hash-worn and weary of meaningless sex, yet they are driven to absurd lengths by their desires, unaware or uninterested in the way they exploit the people and countries they pass through.
They tire of Amsterdam after only a night of mild debauchery, but are fortunate enough to meet a Slovakian in their hostel who tells them about a boys’ town where Eastern European women are as desperate as they are gorgeous. College kids without any idea of the meat-hook realities waiting for them, they have obviously been brought up overprotected and naïve, thinking that the world is small because everyone has a cell phone, believing it is safe because they are privileged enough to treat life as a game.
The boys begin to have second thoughts once in the remote town. Although the youth hostel is regal and their roommates are two sexy nymphs who frolic around naked, there is something strange about the town. Maybe it’s the fact that there are no indigenous young males or the odd way people seem to throw themselves at our young heroes, but something is not right in Denmark.
Although initially distracted by the good time they're having, the boys begin to get suspicious when a drifter friend of theirs comes up missing. He doesn’t return their cell calls and one of the few 20-something males shows up wearing his coat. All the boys wanted was to have a good time and they are unprepared to face what others do for their enjoyment. By the time they learn the town’s secrets it’s too late.
In a sense Hostel is a critique of our “Girls Gone Wild” culture. Paxton and Josh bring their privilege to a place where it no longer has meaning. They have objectified women for their own pleasure, treated them like toys, and it is this same kind of thinking that leads them into an “exhibit,” where wealthy men get their rocks off by removing body parts and tormenting foreigners.
The same perverse desires are at work in the discotheque as in the gulag. Sex without love is basically meaningless – bodies merely part of the absurd existential reality we manipulate every day. Parts are parts, and for kids that can dissect a woman in a thousand ways ranging from the shape of her breast to the dimple in her ass, Paxton and Josh seem incapable of understanding that they, too, can be objectified and worked on as stupid pleasure toys.
Sensualist’s desire almost always ends in sadism, the will to know, to push things to their furthest point. The seducer and the surgeon are both sadists in their basic curiosity about the body and the ways it can be worked on, and it’s not a coincidence that all the torturers at the “exhibit” are dressed like doctors.
The film wants to probe the relationship between hedonism, science and sadism, but the filmmaker’s got a fetish for torture and the grotesque that’s difficult to miss.

 

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