94 min., 2005
Written by Eli Roth
Directed by Eli Roth
My rating: ★★★★
“Of course, my horse!”
* * *
Two friends, Josh (Derek Richardson) and Paxton (Jay Hernandez), are backpacking through Europe; along the way they meet Óli (Eyþór Guðjónsson) who is from Iceland. After one night of women and a bar fight, they get locked out of their hostel and meet a guy named Alexei (Lubomir Bukovy) who tells them about a hostel in a Slovakian village where the women are crazy for Americans. They are completely for it and take the next train there. At the new hostel they meet two women, Natalya (Barbara Nedeljáková) and Svetlana (Jana Kaderabkova), who seem to take a liking to them. A little later Óli ends up missing, and they go looking for him, with no results. So they decide to wait at the hostel, where the two girls tell them to go to a disco, Paxton passes out in a supply closet while Josh goes back and passes out on the bed. He wakes up in a nightmare come true.
One of my favorite things about the movie is the way the main characters are portrayed. You have Josh who is the wishy-washy type who has no idea how to handle women and you have Paxton, the loudmouth who just wants to have a good time, then there’s the pure, fun-loving, oddball Óli. All three are handled with great care and all actors are awesome. All three are completely believable, so much so, you can probably think back to school and remember some classmates just like them. It’s also nice that the rest of the cast is on the same level, with no one falling flat. Jan Vlasák and Rick Hoffman are two of the best, taking both of their roles and moving them to the next level. Both make their characters creepy and pleasant at the same time. They come off as the type of characters that you’d sit down with and have a beer, but then their dark side comes out, and holy shit!
The effects are nicely subtle and crazy believable. Most of the time the camera doesn’t hang on the damage that is being done, instead, it just shows bits and pieces and lets your mind do the rest (very reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre). The only real bad effect was the Asian girl’s eye, which was just okay and kinda hokey. One bad effect compared to a dozen great ones, so I think I can forgive it. My favorite effect, which is just a simple camera trick, is where Paxton is passing out and they cut it together as if he is slowly “melting,” it’s just great.
This movie is one of the best of the sub-genre of torture porn, but it doesn’t just slop gore on your plate, it also has a good story with some great characters. But if you aren’t into gore being in your face, you may want to avoid this. It’s not as bad as others out there, but it gets pretty close. Fans of gore can sink their hands into this and come up covered in blood. Great story, awesome effects and superb acting make this one worth a watch, and fucking Takashi Miike makes a cameo, what could be better?Have You Read...?