Hostel (18)

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The Independent Culture

Three male backpackers - two dumb Californians and their dumber Icelandic friend - are wallowing in every vice that Amsterdam has to offer when they hear about a youth hostel in Slovakia populated solely by nubile nymphets. They jump on the next train. At first sight, their destination seems to live up to its billing, but then one of the boys disappears, and it starts to look as if the exhibits in the village's torture museum are still in regular use.

Hostel is objectionable in pretty much every respect, but there's a certain heartfelt sincerity to its over-use of naked bodies and severed body parts. It's one of the few recent American horror films which aren't airbrushed remakes stuffed with computer-generated effects and TV-generated actors. Executive produced by Quentin Tarantino, and written and directed by the maker of Cabin Fever, it's the work of bona fide gore geeks who just want to create the sex-, drugs-, and dismemberment-packed video nasty they would have loved as adolescents.

It's an honourable enterprise, in a disturbed sort of way.

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