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The film (and its sequel) revolve around a secret society of torture clubs, which use Eastern European hostels (basically cheap dorm-style hotels for tourists) and local women to capture victims for the wealthy to kill and torture at their leisure.
The first film featured male victims while the second film features female victims of the organization. A third film, which relocates the series to Las Vegas, was released Direct to Video in 2011. All three films not to be watched while eating a bowl of spaghetti.
Not surprisingly, the film has been heavily censored in various countries and lambasted by The Czech Republic for their portrayal in the film. (It gets worse: The movie is said to be in Slovakia, was filmed in the Czech Republic, sports people with Russian names (uncommon thereabouts), speaking Russian, and dressed in uniforms that are probably from Ukraine. Also, it portrays the countries as they were in late 1980's. No wonder both countries were offended.)
It should be noted that real-life hostels are emphatically not torture-chambers of any description; while they once had a reputation for being rather disreputable (in that they were largely unpoliced and prone to incidents of theft) recent efforts and gentrification have succeeded in revitalizing the modern hostel as a safe, secure and family-oriented location.
Provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Beth in Part II is more Badass than any previous protagonists by a fair margin -- she gives Stuart, her torturer, a brutal Groin Attack with garden shears, joins the hunting club, and beheads the woman who tricked her and her friends into going to the hostel in the end.
- And I Must Scream
- The Bad Guy Wins - Played straight in both films. Sure, two people got away but that's merely surviving.
- Well they did get "convenient revenge" on those that tricked them. So its not like all of the villains got off scott free.
- Berserk Button - Beth, when someone calls her a cunt.
- Bilingual Bonus - Many of the scenes include dialogue spoken in untranslated foreign languages--most notably, a speech delivered by the main character towards his torturer in German.
- Blood Bath - In the sequel, one of the clients of the Elite Hunting group is a woman who slices up a suspended female captive with scythes and sickles, and bathes in the blood that spills out of her wounds. The client just so happened to be named Mrs. Bathory as a Shout-Out to the Trope Maker.
- Broken Heel - Or sliced.
- The Can Kicked Him - The awesome climax.
- Car Fu - During the escape scene.
- Chainsaw Good
- Chekhov's Hobby - Beth's fortune. Beth was revealed to hold a vast fortune, the point of its mention not made clear until later.
- Cold-Blooded Torture - A lot.
- Creepy Children - The Bubblegum Gang.
- Death by Sex - Averted, the only survivor of the first movie is Paxton, possibly the horniest of the main characters, while Josh, who was quite reluctant about their...activities is killed slowly and painfully.
- To be fair, it's not an aversion when it's part of Eli Roth's overall themes as a writer; IE in his horror films, the virgin always dies horribly while the slut/manwhore is usually the last man standing.
- Developing Doomed Characters - Go ahead, admit it. Ten minutes into the movie, you were crossing your fingers in hopes that they would all just die already.
- Driven to Suicide - Kana
- Eye Scream - Kana, the Japanese girl.
- Face Heel Turn - Stuart of Part II. He was Evil All Along, but only "discovered" himself near the end.
- Fan Disservice - Well, obviously. One specific example, though, in Part II: Heather Matarazzo has a very nice body. It would be great to see her do a straight (or not so straight) nude scene. Hung upside down and bled to death? Not so much.
- Fatal Family Photo - Both Oli and the Dutch Businessman on the train.
- Fingore - Paxton.
- Gorn - The only time this is not used is in the first 30 minutes of the first film.
- The Mrs. Bathory scene in Part II brings the "porn" part of gorn to a whole new level.
- Groin Attack: Beth to Stuart. With garden shears.
"Let him bleed to death."
- Heel Face Turn: After acting all Badass throughout Part II, Todd quickly realises the reality of his actions after unintentionally wounding Whitney whilst playing with a saw, leaves the room disgusted.
- Hell Hotel - well, yeah.
- Hoist by His Own Petard - Stuart in Part II. Goes from client to game.
- Also, Paxton's would be killer in the first movie is killed by his own chainsaw/gun.
- Honeytrap: Natalya and Svetlana
- Horror Films
- I'm a Humanitarian - The old man briefly seen in the sequel. He slowly cuts away at Miroslav's leg, puts it on a plate, and happily eats away at a table in the background.
- And he was played by Ruggero Deodato.
- Improvised Weapon - There are some interesting tools on the tables...
- It Gets Worse - Having half your hand cut off, escaping via dead body trolley, getting outside the hostel, going back in to save a girl only for her to kill herself 10 minutes later.
- Hell, if ya want to go down that road, he went through all that for literally nothing, as he gets himself decapitated shortly after returning home in the sequel.
- Japanese Tourist - Kana & Yuki.
- Karma Houdini
- Karmic Death: The Dutch Businessman, first getting his fingers cut off then having his throat slit just as he had done to poor Josh.
- Kill the Cutie - Sweet, naive Lorna.
- The Killer Becomes the Killed - The Dutch Businessman, Stuart, various other clients.
- Les Yay - Between Axelle and Beth.
- Madness Mantra - I'm not that guy... I'm not that guy... I'm not that guy...
- Masquerade - The titular hostel and its workers.
- The Mole - Axelle.
- My God, What Have I Done? - Todd is overcome with guilt at his actions.
- Off with His Head - Anyone who escapes from Elite Hunting, Axelle.
- Playing Against Type - Roger Bart, who, Desperate Housewives aside, tends to play bright and friendly roles as the villain of the second film. And he still mostly seems nice.
- Revenge - Dished out in spades, when possible.
- Revenge by Proxy - Paxton tracks down and kills the Dutch businessman in a train station to avenge the deaths of Josh and Oli.
- Saying Too Much - Stuart accidentally lets slip the fact that he knows Beth's name, despite the fact that she'd never given it. He Hand Waves her suspicions by claiming that he had overheard her friends talking.
- Scars Are Forever - And hands & eyes don't grow back.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money - Beth's penultimate attempt to escape capture, before she realises exactly what the rules are.
- Shout-Out - When the men in part I arrive at the hostel, Pulp Fiction is playing on the television in the lobby. The Hostel movies were produced by Quentin Tarantino, who directed Pulp Fiction.
- Soundtrack Dissonance - Carmen's Habanera plays while a cannabalistic old man eats Miroslav alive.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome - Paxton is decapitated offscreen during the beginning of Part II.
- The Vamp: Natalya and Svetlana
- To the Pain - The businessman who wanted to be a surgeon.
- Too Dumb to Live - The men is Hostel Part I. The women in Hostel Part II however are notable aversions of this. It doesn't help.
- Torture Porn: Along with the Saw franchise, this is one of the more notable examples of the modern Torture Porn genre.
- Town with a Dark Secret - The local "enterprise" employs quite a few people, including a police officer.
- Unwilling Suspension: In the second movie, Lorna (played by Heather Matarazzo), is suspended upside down over what looks suspiciously like a bathtub. What follows is a recreation of the Elizabeth Bathory legend.
- Viva Las Vegas: The setting of III.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot and Vomit Discretion Shot