So, I'm trying to get back into watching the movies on my list, trying to get back into actually doing the things that I enjoy, or used to at least. The first movie I watched last night was Hostel. For a horror movie, I didn't think it was very scary or suspenseful, but I did think there were other interesting elements.
First, I was really intrigued by how the story moves the viewer to be empathetic with the main characters, though not from the start. At first, the two main characters are the epitomy of the ugly American, frat boys in Amsterdam looking to smoke pot and sleep with hot European chicks who call every guy they see a "fucking faggot." At first, I was thinking that I might actually be happy when these guys get tortured. But then, once they get to the bucolic Eastern European village hostel with the hot topless chicks, their Icelandic friend who they had met in Paris is the first to disappear and die. Since he is pretty decent guy who also has a 6 year old daughter, we feel bad for him. Then, we start to sympathize with the two guys as they refuse to believe that their friend would just leave them. Also, before they are taken, the guys start to show more depth and caring, ditching the hot chicks because they know something is wrong. I thought it was a pretty good manipulation of the audience's, or at least my, feelings.
The other element that I really liked was that the torture was not perpetrated by a single weirdo who lived in the town. It was a large scheme, in which people would be kidnapped by locals and wealthy international travellers paid them for the privelege of torturing and killing people. Instead of sex tourism, it is torture tourism. That was a very interesting development, especially since it is not only the ugly Americans who are being roped in to be tortured but also ugly Americans who are doing the torturing. This town is just making money off of the desires of foreigners.
I still don't think it was a very good movie, however.