Open main menu

Hostel is a 2005 American horror film written and directed by Eli Roth. It stars Jay Hernandez and was produced by Mike Fleiss, Eli Roth, and Chris Briggs; Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegel, and Quentin Tarantino are executive producers. It is the first installment of the Hostel trilogy, followed by Hostel: Part II (2007) and Hostel: Part III (2011). The film tells the story of two college students traveling across Europe, who find themselves preyed upon by a mysterious group that tortures and kills kidnapped backpackers.

Hostel poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEli Roth
Produced by
Written byEli Roth
Music byNathan Barr
CinematographyMilan Chadima
Edited byGeorge Folsey, Jr.
Distributed byLionsgate
Screen Gems
Release date
  • September 17, 2005 (2005-09-17) (TIFF)
  • January 6, 2006 (2006-01-06) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Czech Republic
Budget$4.8 million[2]
Box office$80.6 million[2]



College students Paxton and Josh are travelling across Europe with their Icelandic friend Óli. They arrive in the Netherlands and visit a nightclub in Amsterdam, but get kicked out for fighting. Following the event they visit prostitutes in a brothel. After they return to their hostel, they realize there is a curfew and are locked out. A man in a nearby apartment, Alexei, invites them to stay at his place that night. He convinces them to visit a hostel in Slovakia filled with desperate, beautiful women.

The three board a train to Slovakia, where they encounter a strange Dutch businessman who touches Josh on the leg. An uncomfortable Josh yells at him, causing the embarrassed businessman to leave. When they arrive in Slovakia, they are impressed by the beauty of the town and the grandeur of the hostel and find their roommates are two beautiful women, Natalya and Svetlana, who invite them to the spa, and later to the disco. That night, at the disco, Josh goes outside but is threatened by a gang of local kids known as the "Bubblegum Gang" and is rescued by the Dutch businessman, buying him a beer to thank him and to apologize for his reaction on the train earlier.

Paxton and Josh have sex with Natalya and Svetlana, while Óli leaves with the desk girl, Vala. The next morning, they are confused to see that Óli hasn't returned, and they are unable to contact him. Growing concerned over his whereabouts, they are later approached by a Japanese girl named Kana, who shows them a photo of Óli and her friend Yuki, who has disappeared as well.

Later the group receive a video from Óli who told them he went home but they find it strange and unusual for him. Óli‘s severed head is then shown on a table while a man begins to sever the toe of Kana’s friend with a large pair of shears.

Although Josh is anxious to leave, Paxton convinces him to stay one more night to have sex with the girls again. That night, Josh and Paxton are slipped tranquilizers. Josh stumbles back to the hotel room, while Paxton passes out in the disco's storage room. Josh wakes up in a dungeon-like room, and is approached by a man who drills holes into his chest and legs. The man removes his mask, revealing himself to be the Dutch Businessman, and tells Josh about his failed dream of becoming a surgeon. After Josh begs to be set free, the Dutch Businessman slices Josh's achilles tendons, and removes his restraints. Unable to walk, Josh attempts to crawl to the door, but the Dutch Businessman slices his throat with a scalpel, killing him.

Meanwhile, Paxton wakes up the next morning and returns to the hostel. He gets frustrated with the desk clerk, who insists that he already checked out, and when he returns to his room, he is greeted by two women, who invite him to the spa in an eerily similar manner to Natalya and Svetlana. Paxton finds Natalya and Svetlana at a pub and asks them if they know where Josh is. Natalya tells him that Josh and Óli are visiting an art exhibit, and she agrees to take him there. They arrive at an old factory, and Paxton is horrified to find Josh's mutilated corpse being stitched together by the Dutch Businessman. Paxton is then ambushed by thugs and dragged down a hallway, passing by several rooms where other people are being gruesomely tortured. He is brought to a cell, where he is restrained in a chair and joined minutes later by a German client named Johann. Paxton begs in German to be let go.

After severing two of Paxton's fingers with a chainsaw, Johann unintentionally removes his restraints as well. Johann charges at Paxton with the chainsaw but slips onto the blood and gore caused by Paxton's severed fingers on the ground and severs his own leg during the fall. Paxton reaches for a gun and shoots Johann in the head. A guard enters the room but Paxton fires two shots at him, killing him instantly and escapes from the cell. Paxton enters another room and hides in the bottom of a cart filled with corpses, and severed limbs. A butcher takes the corpses to the bottom floor to be incinerated, and Paxton bludgeons him with a sledge hammer. He then takes the elevator to the top floor and enters the dressing room, where he changes into business clothes, and finds a business card for the Elite Hunting club, an organization where rich people pay to kill and mutilate tourists. He also meets an American client, who mistakes him for another customer, and picks up his gun.

Paxton escapes from the factory but returns after hearing cries for help. He enters another room and discovers Kana having her face and eye burned with a blow torch by the American client. After killing the American, Paxton and Kana flee in a stolen car, pursued by guards. While driving, Paxton sees Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexei, and runs them over, killing them. Paxton and Kana make it to the train station but, after seeing a reflection of her disfigured face, Kana leaps in front of an oncoming train and kills herself. Kana's suicide causes a public scene and thus creates a distraction allowing Paxton to board another train unnoticed.

Once aboard, Paxton hears the voice of the Dutch Businessman. When the train stops in Vienna, Austria, Paxton follows him to a public restroom and throws the Elite Hunting card under his stall. When the Dutch Businessman reaches down to pick it up, Paxton grabs his hand and cuts off the same two fingers he lost during his escape. He then breaks into the stall and nearly drowns the Dutch Businessman in the toilet, but allows him to see his reflection before slitting his throat and killing him. Paxton then leaves to board another train to reach a terminal to return to the USA.

Alternate endingEdit

In the Director's Cut, Paxton kidnaps the Dutch Businessman's daughter instead of killing him. After finding her teddy bear in the restroom she was supposed to be in, the Dutch Businessman searches for his missing daughter unaware that Paxton's train has just left.



After the release of Cabin Fever, Eli Roth was met with praise from several industry figures. One such person was Quentin Tarantino, who listed the film in his "top 10" of the year and immediately reached out to Roth and offered to produce his next feature film. Roth was offered to direct many studio films, mostly horror remakes such as The Last House on the Left, The Fog, and a film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, among several others, but turned them all down on advise from Tarantino, who suggested he make an original horror film.[3] While swimming in Tarantino's pool, Roth brainstormed an idea for a low-budget horror film based on a Thai "murder vacation" website he came across on the internet.[4] Tarantino loved the idea and encouraged Roth to immediately start writing a draft that day, which later formed the basis for Hostel.[5]

Roth had originally debated creating the film in the style of a fake documentary that would incorporate real people and locations from supposed real underground "death vacation" spots. When little information could be found on the topic, the idea was scrapped in favor for a fictional flowing narrative. Principal photography took place in the Czech Republic, and many scenes were shot in Český Krumlov.[6] The torture chamber scenes were filmed in the abandoned wing of an old Prague hospital.


Box officeEdit

Hostel opened theatrically on January 6, 2006, in the United States and earned $19.6 million in its first weekend, ranking number one in the box office.[7] By the end of its run, six weeks later, the film grossed $47.3 million in the US box office and $33.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $80.6 million.[2]

Critical responseEdit

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 60% based on 106 reviews. The site's consensus stating, "Featuring lots of guts and gore, Hostel is a wildly entertaining corpse-filled journey—assuming one is entertained by corpses, guts, and gore, that is."[8] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 55 out of 100 based on 21 reviews.[9]

Entertainment Weekly's film critic Owen Gleiberman commended the film's creativity, saying "You may or may not believe that slavering redneck psychos, of the kind who leer through Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects, can be found in the Southwest, but it's all too easy to envision this sort of depravity in the former Soviet bloc, the crack-up of which has produced a brutal marketplace of capitalistic fiendishness. The torture scenes in Hostel (snipped toes, sliced ankles, pulled eyeballs) are not, in essence, much different from the surgical terrors in the Saw films, only Roth, by presenting his characters as victims of the same world of flesh-for-fantasy they were grooving on in the first place, digs deep into the nightmare of a society ruled by the profit of illicit desire."[10]

German film historian Florian Evers pointed out the Holocaust imagery behind Hostel's horror iconography, connecting Roth's film to the Nazi exploitation genre.[11]

The Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw wrote that Hostel was "actually silly, crass and queasy. And not in a good way".[12] David Edelstein of New York Magazine was equally negative, deriding director Roth with creating the horror subgenre "torture porn", or "gorno", using excessive violence to excite audiences like a sexual act.[13] Jean-François Rauger, a film critic for Le Monde, a French newspaper, and programmer of the Cinémathèque Française, listed Hostel as the best American film of 2006, calling it an example of modern consumerism.[14] Hostel won the 2006 Empire Award for Best Horror Film.

Slovak reaction to settingEdit

The film's release was accompanied by strong complaints from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Slovak and Czech officials were both disgusted and outraged by the film's portrayal of their countries as undeveloped, poor, and uncultured lands suffering from high criminality, war, and prostitution,[15] fearing it would "damage the good reputation of Slovakia" and make foreigners feel it was a dangerous place to be.[16] The tourist board of Slovakia invited Roth on an all-expenses-paid trip to their country so he could see it is not made up of run-down factories, ghettos, and kids who kill for bubble gum. Tomáš Galbavý, a Slovak Member of Parliament from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party, commented: "I am offended by this film. I think that all Slovaks should feel offended."[16]

Defending himself, Roth said the film was not meant to be offensive, arguing, "Americans do not even know that this country exists. My film is not a geographical work but aims to show Americans' ignorance of the world around them."[16][17] Roth has repeatedly argued that despite the many films in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, people still travel to Texas.[18]


  1. ^ "HOSTEL (18)". British Board of Film Classification. January 18, 2006. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Hostel (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. February 17, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  3. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "". External link in |title= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Schwinke, Theodore (July 5, 2006). "Eli Roth plans Czech shoot for Hostel 2". Screen International. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  7. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for January 6-8, 2006". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. January 9, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "Hostel (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  9. ^ "Hostel (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  10. ^ "Movie Review: Hostel". Entertainment Weekly.
  11. ^ "Florian Evers". Vexierbilder des Holocaust, LIT, Munster, 2011.
  12. ^ Peter Bradshaw: "Hostel" review, at Guardian Unlimited
  13. ^ David Edelstein: Now Playing at Your Local Multiplex: Torture Porn, at New York Magazine, published on January 28th, 2006.
  14. ^ Jean Francois Rauger (December 27, 2006). "Les films préférés des critiques du "Monde" en 2006". Le Monde (accessed with Google Translate). Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  15. ^ Cameron, Rob (February 24, 2006). "Smash hit horror Hostel causes a stir among citizens of sleepy Slovakia". Radio Prague. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  16. ^ a b c "Slovakia angered by horror film". BBC News. February 27, 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  17. ^ "Hostel: April 2006 Archives".
  18. ^

External linksEdit