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Hostel tops US box office

Eli Roth's Hostel

Story by Jack Foley

ELI Roth’s deliberately sick horror film Hostel has surpassed expectations by topping the US box office in its first three days of opening and toppling The Chronicles of Narnia.

The film follows the misfortunes of three young backpackers who become the victims of a torture ring in Eastern Europe.

It took an estimated $20.1m (£11.35m), according to early studio estimates, prompting talks to begin over the possibility of a sequel.

The film’s achievement is made all the more remarkable given that it was produced for less than $5m (£2.8m). It is reportedly inspired by true events and is described as “graphic and deeply disturbing”.

Quentin Tarantino servesas an executive producer of the film, while Japanese horror maestro, Takeshi Miike cameos.

US reaction

On the whole, the film was well-received by US critics, which may have helped with the overall box office success it enjoyed.

Entertainment Weekly wrote that ‘Roth, by presenting his characters as victims of the same world of flesh-for-fantasy they were grooving on in the first place, digs deep into the nightmare of a society ruled by the profit of illicit desire’.

While the Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Eli Roth turns to modern-day Asian fright filmmakers as inspiration for his latest blood-soaked effort while demonstrating an intriguing, original voice of his own.”

The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, stated that ‘Hostel disturbingly explores the gray area behind people’s perverted lust for power through both sex and violence’.

Less enthused was the New York Times which opined ‘the calculated outrages of Eli Roth’s brutal exploitation film prove less shocking that its relentless bigotry’.

And The Toronto Star felt that ‘Roth doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone. Piling the gore on without benefit of artful tension, the film ends up approaching parody’.

But the Los Angeles Times wrote that ‘Roth has lost none of his gift for oozing anatomy now that he has earned the producing imprimatur of Quentin Tarantino, who seems to be positioning himself as the Roger Corman of the next generation of cine-sadists’.

And the New York Post declared that ‘Hostel is a screaming good time, marred only by a lazy ending’.