None of this is particularly new in the annals of horror cinema. Young people debauching themselves and paying for it with their lives is a staple of the genre. But here we have something different by an order of magnitude that exceeds everything that's come before. And it's been plenty nasty up to now. "Hostel" is the most vicious, mean-spirited, horribly violent and sadistic collection of events committed to film, and that's saying a lot given the spate of recent movies hell-bent on conjuring up every depravity their filmmakers can muster, including the two "Saw" flicks, Rob Zombie's "House of 1,000 Corpses" and its sequel "The Devil's Rejects," the French thriller "High Tension" and "Hostel" director Eli Roth's own "Cabin Fever." Effectively, these movies attempt to parody the snuff films of lore (one hopes they're only lore), with scenes of mayhem strung together by the thinnest of narratives, spiked with gallows humor and an occasional twist. Is there a point? No. Will you like it? Perhaps, but if you do... you should see someone about that. Starring Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson and Barbara Nedeljakova. Directed and written by Eli Roth. Produced by Eli Roth, Chris Briggs and Mike Fleiss. A Lions Gate release. Horror/Suspense. Rated R for brutal scenes of torture and violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use. Running time: 95 min
A couple of American college boys facing real life in the not too distant future decide to backpack across Europe. Paxton ("Crazy/Beautiful's" Jay Hernandez) and Josh ("Bring it On's" Derek Richardson) are hoping to hook up with some sexy European women and have the time of their lives. They fall in with a fellow traveler named Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson), a horny Icelandic dude with whom they sample the delights of Amsterdam. Then the boys learn about a hostel in Bratislava where beautiful women will be at their service. Of course, what they find out is that the hostel is really just a hunting ground where the rich track and torture anyone fool enough to fall for the promise of free sex and drugs. They even pay more for Americans.