The casting here is half the battle and it’s what gives HOSTEL its heart. Richardson, who was obviously wasted in the prequel to DUMB AND DUMBER, is terrific, Gudjonsson is fun and Hernandez, whom I gave a bad grade to for his work in the prequel to CARLITO’S WAY, shines here giving a magnetic performance – he’s definitely growing into a lead man. Everyone else here is almost unknown, which Roth obviously understands is key to a good story; we never know who is good, who is bad, who’s going to die or who’s going to live. So while HOSTEL isn’t flawless, it is a good example of how taking your time sometimes pays off. In the hostel of horror, Roth was already in the building, but it seems that this time around, he found the right room.
Commentary (with Director Eli Roth and Executive Producers Quentin Tarantino, Boaz Yakin and Scott Spiegel): This commentary, again with too many people in the room, is strictly for movie geeks only, as hearing Roth and Tarantino is a film fanatic's wet dream. Lots of film trivia banter, laughing and set stories fill this one with enough to keep die hard fans drooling. For all others, it will not be able to hold your interest for the full running time.
Commentary (with Director Eli Roth, Actors Barbara Nedeljakova and Eythor Gudjonsson, Editor George Folsey Jr. and Web Author Harry Knowles): This one suffers from too many people that have nothing really interesting to say. Roth acts as an interviewer here, first with Folsey Jr., who is not too forthcoming with the stories. Then at the thirty-three minute mark, Ain’tItCoolNews.com fanboy Harry Knowles talks to Roth via the phone (he’s just too important!) and the conversation is like pulling blood from a stone. Roth has all the personality, Knowles should have borrowed some. Then at one hour, twelve minutes, Nedeljakova talks to Roth and the fact that English is not her first language is only one of the problems. And finally at one hour, twenty-five minutes, Gudjonsson phones up and talks to Roth, but it feels like we’re eaves dropping in on a call between two friends and it’s not exactly a party line. The end result here is that we didn’t need to hear from any of these folks, they have nothing new to say (especially Knowles - bro how can you do this stuff and still remain objective?!), nothing that any hardcore fan would have to hear, and with the exception of Roth, rigormortis seems to be setting in!
Commentary (with Director Eli Roth, Producer Chris Briggs & Documentarian Gabriel Roth): This has to be the most boring and redundant of the tracks, with so many stories and info being repeated from the other tracks. Again, Eli takes center stage, with Briggs chiming in occasionally, and Gabriel seems as though he’s asleep. This one did not need to be here.
Commentary (with Director Eli Roth): This is by far the best commentary to listen to. Roth takes you through his experience, from the end of CABIN FEVER, his first film, to the end of HOSTEL. It’s an honest (he boldly states that a filmmaker “cannot shoot a film in the United States independently”) and revealing look at what happens behind the scenes with a successful new filmmaker. Note to Roth: forget this obsession with an over abundance of commentary tracks and trying to overcompensate, you’re more then enough on your own bro!
Hostel Dissected: This is a behind the scenes look at the making of HOSTEL, and it’s one you can’t take your eyes off of. It’s shocking, funny, informative and just downright entertaining. It’s just like being on the set during shooting, amongst all the crew and actors and they’re all being candid. It can be broken up into three pieces, which should only be used if you can’t watch it all at once. I say go for the Play All feature, as it’s all good!
• Part One (26:54): Highlights from this section include mocking a member of crew about his Rock and Roll past and encountering an actor who comes in to play a cab driver, but ends up being….drunk.
• Part Two (14:29): Best Moment - a loving look at the KNB EFX guys using the KILL BILL fire extinguishers to spray unsuspecting older extras in the face with blood. Love it.
• Part Three (13:56): More hijinks and shooting and while nothing really stands out here, it’s all just engrossing.
There is also a Multi-Angle Feature called Kill The Car!, which lets you switch from camera to camera in the sequence where the kids beat the stuffing out of two thugs and a car. (A feature for those with severe anger issues only!) Plus a Previews section with Trailers for WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, SILENT HILL, UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION, THE CAVE, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, BOOGEYMAN, RING AROUND THE ROSIE, and THE FOG.
Five years? Not all in one sitting? Great, now he tells me! (Guess he didn’t have the last word after all!)