Gorefest, historical epic fall short


Directed by: Eli Roth

Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson

3 stars

Three tourists, archetypal American Paxton (Hernandez), nice guy Josh (Richardson) and crazy Icelander Oli (Gudjonsson), drink and screw their way through Amsterdam before following a story about hot girls all the way to Slovakia. While there, the three friends realize they are in for more than they bargained, as hostel employees begin acting strangely and guests start disappearing.

“Hostel” was written by Quentin Tarantino and Roth (“Cabin Fever”), a team that ensured a high level of sadistic gore. Fans were not disappointed. Half soft-core porn, half gruesome bloodbath, I watched “Hostel” through the cracks between my fingers, to avoid the initial shock of people being chopped into pieces or blowtorched in the face.

Despite the immediate hype, the film lost a lot of credibility when the first wave of reviews panned it as gratuitous sex and gore with little plot. However, there was a plot, albeit an unrealistic one. But in the genre of horror, an unrealistic setup is part of the package.

Although Roth is not known for his social commentary, Tarantino is, and in some ways this is where the film becomes disappointing. In many ways, it is no more than a good gross-out movie. The one point he does seem to pursue is the worldwide contempt for American tourists, who, throughout the film, run drunkenly through the streets in pompous disregard for local languages and customs.

“Hostel” is not what you would expect with a name like Tarantino on the bill, but if you like envelope-pushing violence, it is a worthy film.

– Katelyn McCormick,

Arts & Entertainment Editor

“The New World”

Directed by: Terrence Malick

Starring: Colin Farrell, Q’Orianka Kilcher, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer

2.5 stars

With this historical film, director Malick attempts to depict a story with which many are familiar: the settlement of the Jamestown, Va. colony in the early 1600s. The trailers present the film as a sweeping epic drama that tells the tale of the clash between the newly arrived English settlers and the Indian natives.

Yet, at its core, the film is about the Indian princess Pocahontas (Kilcher) and the relationship she develops with two Englishmen: the rebellious Captain John Smith (Farrell) and the aristocrat John Rolfe (Bale).

Visually, “The New World” is stunning, capturing the beauty found in the unspoiled wilderness of early America. Kilcher becomes an extension of this, portraying a bright innocence and curiosity with which the audience is able to connect.

Outside of Kilcher’s remarkable presence, which earned her a Critic’s Choice nomination for best young actress, there is little else that remains memorable in the film. Both Bale and Farrell are effective, yet not spectacular, in their lead roles. The pace of the film also becomes an issue. “The New World” feels gruelingly slow at times, filled with long montages of images and limited dialogue, much of which is heard as ethereal voiceovers.

Though it is interesting to see how this well-known story comes to life on film through Malick’s writing and direction, its slow development and art-house feel may simply confuse audiences rather than stir their emotions.

– Lauren Roccia,

Staff Writer