Hostel was interesting but over the top with the gore. It was not scary, just gross at times. The Saw and Hostel movies have taken this gore porn idea to a new level. It also played out like a 1980s film. You can walk from predictable scene to the next. I did like that they switched up the horror convention that the "noble" guy or girl is the one who lives. This is a low budget film, and it really really shows. I do believe some scenes of post-Communism run down factories could have been filmed in Detroit to save travel time and money.
Three actors stood out to me.
1. The Russian kid who tells the protagonists of the hostel. He sold that scene, and came across as real. Herpes sore and all.
2. The Dutch businessman. I enjoyed his weirdness, including his salad eating in the train. These are the Euros you randomly meet on train rides.
3. The scene stealer was the Icelandic hostel guy. This is the archetype of the drifting person you meet in a hostel who bonds with you and jumps from city to city, looking to party, drug and bang the night away. I loved that the writer threw in that he had a kid, and that surprise-shocks the American youngsters. He also looked like the radio host from Boston of "Matty in the Morning" only younger & with hair.
Yes, there is nudity & dudity. Nudity of eastern european women and one guy's ass. If you're going to get an R for violence, at least throw in some boobs for the men (and nontraditional women) and a rear end for the ladies (and nontraditional men). My weakness for eastern euro women would have been a great character flaw if I had been a character in some Cold War era spy novel series. In a James Bond vein, a female love interest could be named Natasha Bendova.
The truly interesting theme of Hostel is that feeling of isolation when you travel abroad. They nail the feelings of unease when they have the little ruffians show up and threaten one of the leads, when the 'hero' asks the chicks to speak English when he starts to figure things out, when the 'hero' sees the cops are in on the hunt, and when both leads drink too much & pass out. There is a sense of danger just below the care free surface whenever you are in a strange land and don't speak the tongue.