Hostel 2005 *****

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Writer/director Eli Roth took a step up from Cabin Fever with this intense thriller from 2005; not a horror film per se, it’s a warning about the dangers of cut-price vacations in Europe; hostels rather than hotels are the subject. Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and his pals head to a Slovak town hoping for some excessive booze and drugs, and they’re rewarded by a seeming Shangri-La of available women.  But they’ve walked into a tourist trap, and soon Paxton discovers the true, terrifying nature of the resort and is fleeing for his life. With over a dozen different languages spoken and no subtitles, Roth’s film cleverly works up a set of paranoia about being an American abroad,  paying-off in tense torture and escape sequences. Hostel is a nightmarish film, but one that keeps a vice-like grip on the simple, potent narrative.

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