I think I’ve seen enough of Eli Roth’s work to decide that he sucks. I’ll give him points for being an adequate actor, but as a writer/director he brings virtually nothing new to the genre. Take Hostel, it’s essentially Saw without the traps, twists, or interesting characters. What does it have? Violence, and lots of it. People criticize Saw for being senseless torture porn but if you’re looking for the culprit, look to Hostel.
Two douchey college students are traveling through Europe when they stop off in Slovakia. Delving into their hedonistic pleasures, they hook up with some chicks and get drugged. One of the douchebags wakes up in a dungeon-like setting where he is then tortured by a Dutch businessman. In searching for his friend, the other douchebag also becomes a victim, but he ain’t giving up, not this year. More or less it’s your typical cat-and-mouse kind of hack ’em up movie.
It pains me that Roth’s ideas are good in theory but executed in such an unimaginative way. Inspiration for his film Cabin Fever came from a personal experience where Roth contracted a skin disease, that sounds cool but it was handled on screen in the most predictable, by-the-numbers format imaginable. Hostel is the same thing, Roth got the idea after hearing about countries where you could pay to shoot people. Doesn’t that sound compelling? Yet he does nothing with it.
Filmmakers are supposed to push boundaries and discover new ways to present themselves. They are artists that live to create something special. Though as far as I’m concerned, Eli Roth is just immitating what others before him have already done, and not even doing a good job of that. I don’t get his appeal and I have no interest in ever seeing anything else by him ever again.