Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Eli Roth films are a waste of time
For no good reason I suffered through Eli Roth’s miserable HOSTEL 2 the other night. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to see this piece of crap as I have experience with this moron’s work. Years ago, lured by the promise of a GREAT horror film, I saw CABIN FEVER. Written and directed by newcomer Eli Roth it had gotten the big build up as an amazing throwback to the classic horror films of the 1970’s. Instead, it was crap! At the time I wrote an email to several friends warning them off (nice fellow that I am) and I’m going to copy the text of that missive below. If you’ve read this review/rant before just skip down the page.
As a public service I thought it might be a good idea to warn all of you that a recently released movie that you might be tempted to see is not worth the trouble. As most of you know, I love horror movies and love to go see new ones as soon as they open. Hell--I even suffered through FREDDY VS. JASON for God's sake! I was compelled to see the new film CABIN FEVER not just because it was a horror movie but because advance word about the film was very positive. Even so highly esteemed a personage as director Peter (LOTR) Jackson said good things about it. So, I ventured into the theater Sunday with high hopes and left 90 minutes later with dashed expectations.
First the good stuff- the film is beautifully shot with a gorgeous autumn-like color palette and a strong eye for interesting framing. The acting is fair to good, the music is subtle and effective and the effects are very believable. For the prurient among you (i.e. the guys) there is very attractive lady that has no problem displaying her ample endowments on more than one occasion.
Now for the bad-- the story feels like a poorly thought out first draft with no logic or suspense build. The writers seem to have never seen a cliché they didn't love, from the by-the-numbers casting to the coarse dialog there is nary a surprise to be found. By the time one character told a masturbation story involving a dog I realized that any hopes of the screenplay improving were wishful at best. All of these things I could forgive if the film showed any spark of creativity but it is a simple retread of better films from EVIL DEAD to BAD TASTE to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD only without the humor and scares. One thing you have to maintain in a film of this type is a sense of one step leading to the next with each step being unavoidable because of the dire circumstances in which the characters find themselves. This film has NO sense of logic about how rational, thinking people would handle the situations the film presents. There comes a point midway through where the order of whole scenes could have been completely rearranged without changing a thing. The film is a mess! And they had no idea when or even HOW to end the sucker! The final scenes are so stupid that it's actually insulting.
If you really must go see a horror film please go see 28 DAYS LATER. It's smart, effective and shows you how to give a nod to classic horror stories (DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, DAY OF THE DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD, etc.) while bringing some creativity to the medium. Hell- even this year's WRONG TURN was a better movie.
I just thought you'd like to know.
Not content to learn my lesson like a smart fellow a couple of years later I attended a screening of Mr. Roth’s next cinematic attempt HOSTEL. I didn’t like it any better as you will see.
Eli Roth is credited on HOSTEL as the writer/director so this thing is certainly his. Once again getting the high critical praise that seems to be his unearned birthright this has been hailed as a GREAT horror film. It ain’t! To be honest it holds itself together pretty well till about the hour mark and then goes off the rails so badly it was as if someone stepped onto screen and simply said “We’re now going to destroy this sucker- just hang on!” A character does something so stupid, unlikely and physically impossible (apparently he has bionic hearing) that it made me start to wonder if I had been unintentionally watching a comedy. No- instead it simply BECAME an unintentional comedy through sheer cluelessness. After the first mistake Roth then makes another and another and another until it seems that there is no third act screw-up he can imagine that might be a bad idea. This boy needs a strong screenwriting partner to point out story holes and logic problems. While the credits were still rolling my movie-going buddy Jeff and I came up with 3 different ways to fix the script mistakes--and WE’RE NOT WRITERS! Freakin’ pathetic.
With this film Eli Roth has entered hack-land and I will not be suffering his product any longer. I leave his future films to those heaping kudos on this mess. Have fun folks. I'll be watching something else.
Of course that last bit turned out to not be quite true as I have now seen HOSTEL 2. If I’m lucky the financial failure of that film will make it impossible for him to direct again. I hope!