Cert 18, #19.99, **
Starring: Derek Richardson, Jay Hernandez, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedeljakova, Jana Kaderabkova, Jan Vlasak, Jennifer Lim.
American backpackers Josh (Richardson) and Paxton (Hernandez) are boozing their way across Europe as a last hurrah before college. En route, the two lads meet Icelandic traveller Oli (Gudjonsson), who agrees to join them on their quest, and the trio heads for Slovakia, where the women are supposedly desperate for male attention.
Checking into a hostel in an outof-the-way town, Josh, Paxton and Oli think all of their prayers have been answered when they discover their roommates are leggy beauties Natalya (Nedeljakova) and Svetlana (Kaderabkova). Then something strange happens: Oli disappears without trace.
Following a trail of clues, Josh and Paxton discover their friend's nightmarish final destination, and the lads finally understand there is only one way they are going to be checking out of the hostel. In a coffin.
Inspired by reportedly true stories of human trafficking and international organised crime, Hostel paints a vision of global tourism that beggars belief and leaves you feeling a tad nauseous.
Gallons of fake blood slosh about the screen as the characters beg - or rather scream at the top of their lungs - for their lives. Once the bloodletting and dismemberment begins in earnest, the actors have little more to do than vomit, and scream variations on "Please let me go!" and "Noooooo!"
The offbeat humour of the first 20 minutes - an unsettling encounter with a creepy Dutch businessman (Vlasak) on a train - gives way to really nasty, graphic scenes of torture.
If you're at all squeamish, then stay well away, because writer-director Eli Roth delights in inflicting unspeakable pain on his characters: electric drills in their legs; ripping out an eyeball just to see the pus gush from the socket. Sweet dreams.
DVD Extras: Four cast and crew commentaries, 3 "Making Of" featurettes, multi-angle scene.