DVD Review – HOSTEL Director’s Cut

     October 22, 2007

Reviewed by Hunter M. Daniels

There really isn’t much more to say about Hostel. When the film came out it caused quite a stir, but removed from the hype the only two scenes that are truly effective are the toe clipping and the Rick Hoffman rant. The rest of the movie is a gory, breast filled, misogynistic romp that is occasionally very funny, and often very bloody.

There is some value to rewatching this film. The plot and structure become more clear, the character motivation less blurry. The small amounts of actual gore also become apparent. The film is far from a bloodbath. Yes, there are some extreme moments. The Achilles tendon slice and the melted eyeball are grotesque marvels, as is the final revenge scene, but most of the horror is based around looking into a character’s eyes.

Much like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, there is a definite sadomasochistic tone to the cinematography in this film. The film isn’t just violent, it often places the camera in a way that makes the viewer complicit in the atrocities. The first torture scene begins with a POV shot from the victim. Later, we are placed in the eyes of the killer as one character begs for his life in multiple languages. Often, the camera is placed at an angle that implies a third party watching, as with the grainy security camera footage that is on display in several scenes. The voyeurism of the sex becomes the voyeurism of the violence becomes the voyeurism of our collective schadenfreude.

The film is vastly superior to it’s repulsively anti-woman sequel, but it’s still far from perfect. It’s also basically an identical film to House of Wax. This is important because Eli Roth repeatedly attacked this film publicly. Thing is, he was offered a chance to direct it, and Hostel is shockingly similar. The Tendon Cut, the torture room angle, the evil advice guy, the first victim. The structure of the third act escape is also almost identical. I’m not calling Roth a thief, I’m just saying that maybe he should think about what it is he is mocking.


This the director’s cut of the film. I remember when it first came out, Roth said that there would be no director’s cut because he got everything he wanted from the MPAA. The only thing he cut was a few frames from the eyeball scene. But then Hostel Part II underperformed and Cell stalled, so here Roth is, making the studio some more coin so that he can continue to get funding. And that’s fine. But, if you own the first version, there is no reason to buy this double dip.

The best special features are all from the original DVD release. Roth is a personable guy. He can be a bit much in person, but on a commentary track, he’s a lot of fun to listen to. Harry Knowles’ and Quentin Tarantino’s tracks with Roth are the best.

The director’s cut is 2 minutes shorter and has a new ending included. This ending isn’t a major twist, or all that good. The theatrical version is better. Also, I didn’t note any significance between this cut and the first DVD.

The second disc houses all of the new material. There is a music and sound featurette, set design featurette, a meal with Eythor Gudjonsson Featurette, KNB effects featurette, an interview with Takashi Miike, a Hostel international tv special, and yet another interview with Roth.

None of these features demand a second purchase except for Miike’s involvement. But, if you’re that big into Miike, just go buy 3…Extremes it has much better torture, and a commentary track by Miike.

The movie isn’t bad though, and now with this new edition out, the first edition should be hitting the discount bin. And or 5-10 bucks, you could certainly do worse than this film.

The Film: 6.8/10

The DVD: 8/10

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