Sci-fi author Steven Barnes has a mini-review of the film Hostel up on his blog:
Do NOT see this movie unless you are bored by lightweight fare such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Eli Roth (“Cabin Fever”) has made one of the most genuinely frightening films I have ever, ever, seen in my life…
This is probably the most gruesome film I could ever recommend. While not merely an all-out torture marathon (and such films actually exist, believe me) it is pretty close to the line. But Hostel ultimately has more on its nasty little mind, and if you’re a fan of the genre, this gets an “A.” But brothers and sisters, if you aren’t, it is an “F” minus. Trust me on this one.
There isn’t a whole lot more to it than that, but he follows it up in the same piece with an interesting meditation on horror and current events:
It was inevitable that post 9/11, horror films would begin to raise their heads. First timid “PG-13” stuff, just sticking their toes in the water. Then, As the fear level was maintained for months and years, the amount of fictional trigger necessary to release the pent-up anxiety became severe.
We’re about to get a real, no-nonsense deluge of hard-core horror in 2006, from remakes of “The Hills Have Eyes” to new Zombie gore fests from George Romero and company. And torture is on the menu, children. Some critics have wondered why this would be, and I wonder if they’ve been reading the news.
It’s got some good, thought-provoking stuff in it.