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Eli Roth: Hostel

And we have arrived at the signature Eli Roth film: Hostel. While Cabin Fever is what made his first big splat on the scene, Hostel is what made him a national treasure. Well, I treasure him at least.

Along with Saw, this is what kickstarted Hollywood's obsession with torture porn. The difference between these and all the copycats that followed was the motive. Sure they were gore-fests, but Saw had a point behind all the blood (we won't bother with that now). Hostel was pure fun, in a sick kinda way, which is kinda way awesome. The copycats were out to make money and disturb the nation. But yeah, especially now knowing some of Roth's influences and background, he was just a kid playing with shiny toys. And he really is today's master of all things gore. IMDB trivia tells me that over 150 gallons of blood were used for this film. Three times as much as Cabin Fever.

As the movie started today, wait let's back up to before the movie. I had the menu playing for a while whence I was warming up dinner. The background sounds were saws and screams. Yes! Anyways, during some of the opening scenes, I was thinking that as a girl I should be _really_ offended. The way that the guys talk about going after girls, and the pictures they were ogling, I should have been upset. But this is me we're talking about. I found it hilarious. Especially knowing what was gonna end up happening to everyone, it actually seemed fitting that they were so shallow and dumb. Meant that I wouldn't feel too bad about their impending doom.

Speaking of knowing what was gonna happen, I hadn't realized it before, but Roth is kind of amazing at playing with expectations. On the small scale, there was the bit where just before seeing someone's toe cut off, the shot cuts to someone clipping their toenails. But on the larger scale, there were several scenes in a row where because you knew where our characters would eventually end up, you'd expect it. And the suspense would thicken into a fakeout where everything was okay. First, when they're in Amsterdam, you see them go stay at a hostel. But nope, we're not going there yet. Later when the girls give the guys drugs in the club, I expected them to go sleepy and wake up, let's say, not in the club. Nope. There's a few more bits like that. Its just draaaaaagged out. The most effective horror films are the ones that leave a lot to your imagination. Usually I interpert that as them being scarier when there's less on screen, but it works here too. Your brain is going into overdrive starting to think of what's going to happen to them. That build up is what gets me jittery and anxious and deliciously goosebumpy.

I did watch both versions of the ending: the director's cut ending and the theatrical cut ending. I'm not sure which I preferred. The theatrical one felt more satisfying, but it was a bit obvious. The director's one was much darker, well if interperted in a certain way, but it was a bit abrupt. I think I would have wanted a hybrid of the two. Yeah, that could totally work.

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