Having been dubbed "the future of horror" by Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth embarked on his follow up to his hugely successful Cabin Fever knowing that to shock would be a good idea if he were to enhance his reputation. I might be depicting the young filmmaker as too analytic, but there's no denying that Hostel is at least a wee bit manipulative. But with that said: behind the early, dreary over-focusing on sex (in the usual, ridiculous American manner - do all Americans have a relation to sex as unnatural as these teen-movies suggest?) and behind the over-mystifying build-up (that includes a couple of unconvincing bait beauties), Hostel finally strips down to an extremely interesting investigation of a business that embodies and looks into some very unhealthy tendencies in our world view and human nature. The film uses violence and graphic effects for all they're worth, and encompasses a remarkable technical achievement; there are scenes in here that look more real than you'd want them to. Roth takes hold of your spine and shakes it a bit, but what's best about that is that he doesn't do it just for show, or just because he can - there actually are things to think about buried in the horror. Some sequences are strong - not only on a graphical level, but also implicitly - such as Kana's final scene, or a conversation between Paxton and a German surgeon. Hostel isn't the refined film experience, but it boasts abundances of quality, inspiration and talent.