Sight and Sound - 05/01/2006
"HOSTEL confirms Roth as one of the brighter hopes for mainstream horror....His troubling climax lets us wallow in violent retribution."
Total Film - 09/01/2006 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A] backpackers-in-peril shocker that's happiest pummeling the gut..."
Uncut - 09/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]kin to '70s horror classics like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD or THE HILLS HAVE EYES, mordant allegories, cruelly funny."
Ultimate DVD - 09/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "An excruciating, chilling and supremely entertaining horror thriller."
The hallowed tradition of the post-college European backpacking trip turns into an unimaginable nightmare for two unsuspecting American 20-somethings in Eli Roth's (CABIN FEVER) sensational second outing. Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) have embarked upon a hedonistic tour of the continent, and somewhere along the way they picked up an Icelandic lunk named Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson). In Amsterdam the trio partakes of the pastimes most dear to frat boys everywhere: weed, prostitutes, and nightclubs. But when a fellow traveler tells these thrill-seekers about the decadent scene that awaits them in Bratislava, they find themselves unable to resist its lures; enticed by the promise of a hostel full of beautiful girls who love Americans, they set out for the remote areas of Eastern Europe. There, the sex farce to which the film's first half is devoted slowly turns ominous, as the boys hook up immediately with the gorgeous Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova) and Svetlana (Jana Kaderabkova), whose eagerness masks more sinister intentions.
Soon, the disagreeable backpackers find themselves on the other side of the flesh trade, sold by the girls into an exclusive human trafficking operation that gives its customers the opportunity to torture and kill a helpless victim. Much of what follows consists of the squirm-inducing surgical horrors that characterize precursors such as SAW, with the implications regarding the capitalist system and the human soul becoming ever darker. Produced by Quentin Tarantino, the film amps up the gore factor as much as it can get away with, and, in the tradition of the best horror films, offers a satirical socially conscious commentary.