Monday, April 24, 2006
Movie Reviews: Silent Hill & Hostel
Rose (Radha Mitchell) travels to an abandoned town that has been appearing in her daughter's nightmares. Her husband (Sean Bean) begs her not to go, but Rose is unable to accept that her daughter is to spend her life in psychiatric care. The town is covered in fog, and every now and then, the creepy mist transforms everything it touches. Rose quickly realizes that her kid's dreams mean something and could be the key to the history of the haunting haze.
Cast Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Jodelle Ferland, Deborah Kara Unger (more)
Director(s) Christophe Gans
Writer(s) Roger Avary
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date April 21, 2006
Running Time 127 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for strong horror violence and gore, disturbing images, and some language
Silent Hill is a convoluted mess of a horror movie. This movie has some great looking scenes and throws some odd, if not intriguing, looking creatures at the audience. All of this would have been great if the story werent so murky and incoherent. For a better part of the film, even through the Akira meets Hellraiser ending, the audience isnt really told why certain things are happening or what purpose they serve. This is a real shame considering Roger Avery, one of the writers of Pulp Fiction and the terribly underrated Rules of Attraction which he also directed, wrote the script which had quite a few good ideas that are quite complete. A lot of the idea we get seem to be half finished, almost as if the script was rushed at the end and the writer was forced to find contrived way to explain what he had done. The acting doesnt help as we get some of the stiffest reading of lines in recent memory. Overall, I was looking forward to this film hoping there would be some good horror fun to be had. Unfortunately, the movies too much of a mess to recommend, perhaps I watch it again someday and have a better understanding of the film, perhaps
College buddies Paxton and Josh backpack through Europe with Oli, an Icelandic friend they met along the way. He leads the two Americans to a Slovakian town that's rumored to have a hostel stocked with beautiful Eastern European women. Surprisingly, this turns out to be true, and Paxton and Josh are soon hooking up with Natalya and Svetlana. However, things take a darker turn when they discover the cheap, babe-filled lodge holds a terrifying secret.
Cast Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedeljakova, Jan Vlasak (more)
Director(s) Eli Roth
Writer(s) Eli Roth
Status On DVD
Release Date Jan. 6, 2006
DVD Release Date April 18, 2006
Running Time 95 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for brutal scenes of torture and violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use
Eli Roth hit the ground running with his debut film, Cabin Fever. Hostel doesnt quite hit as high a note as Cabin Fever did for me and in some parts I felt as if Roth was holding back on the audience. Hostel can really be broken down into 3 acts. The first act is so goofy and filled with so many Eurotrip stereotypes that someone might believe they were watching a sequel to that film. The 2nd act really turns dark and gruesome. During the 2nd act the movie hits its high point as a dark visceral horror movie. Unfortunately, one the 2nd act ends and the 3rd begins, everything turns from dark and disturbing to goofy and cartoon-ish. In fact, the 3rd act made me chuckle more than a few times. Roth just lets the movie run off the cliff with marauding bands of pre adolescent gangs saving the day and oh so convenient situations for the antagonist to get their punishment. It doesnt help that the protagonist isnt particularly likable or fleshed out. In reality I could have cared less if the character survived or not. On the good side, you can really see Roths growth as a film maker; he expertly juxtaposes scenes at the beginning of the film against scenes at the end which really drives home the overall theme of the movie. On a bit of tangent, I feel that Roth really missed an opportunity to explore a truly disturbing aspect of this story, one he touches on slightly near the end of the film in a quick exchange between the protagonist and a patron. In the end, I was a little let down by Roths Hostel, heres to hoping his second trip to Hostel, which hes just started filming, is far more satisfying.