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Writer-director Eli Roth made his film debut in 2002 with Cabin Fever, a low budget flick about a group of teenagers terrorised by flesh-eating bacteria.

Hostel provides him with a considerably bigger budget ($4.5m) and an opportunity to let his freakish imagination run riot.

Inspired by a reportedly true story, 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.

The film has been a box office smash in America and the unpleasant cocktail of sex and violence should draw audiences to late night screenings here too.

The unfortunate heroes of the story are best buddies Josh (Derek Richardson) and Paxton (Jay Hernandez), a pair of fun-seeking American backpackers who intend to booze and sleep their way around Europe as a last hurrah before college.

En route, the lads meet Icelandic traveller Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) and the trio head for Slovakia, a nirvana for foreign tourists where the women are supposedly just as desperate for male attention as they are gorgeous.

Checking into a hostel in an out-of-the-way town, Josh, Paxton and Oli think all their prayers have been answered. Their room mates are two leggy beauties who love to parade about the hotel in little more than their underwear.

Then something strange happens: Oli disappears without trace along with a Japanese girl from the hostel.

Following a trail of clues, Josh and Paxton discover their friend's nightmarish final destination and learn that there is only one way they are going to be checking out of the hostel . . . in a coffin.

Once the blood-letting and dismemberment begins in earnest, the actors have little more to do than vomit and scream. The off-beat humour of the first 20 minutes gives way to really nasty, graphic scenes of torture.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 24, 2006
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