Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Hostel Movie Poster Image
Extremely brutal and graphic; not for the faint of heart.
  • R
  • 2006
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 32 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 45 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Rich people pay money to torture young tourists.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It goes without saying that, between the sex-obsessed and homophobic lead characters who are on a drink and drug-fueled binge through Europe in search of easy sex, the psychotic sadists who perpetrate the beyond gory torture and killing in this movie, and the stereotypes of various ethnicities, there are no positive role models in this movie.


Gruesome, ongoing violence, in the form of torture and vengeful resistance to same (instruments include chainsaws, guns, knives, scissors, clippers, drills, hammers, pincers, and cars). It is impossible to tally all the individual acts of violence and gory moments. Woman commits suicide by jumping in front of a train; this same woman had recently escaped from having her eye gouged out by a sadistic wealthy man who had paid money for the chance to kill her slowly, the eye is shown dangling before it is clipped off by on of the main characters--one of the most incredibly disgusting moments in cinema. 


Blatant female nudity (including one brief full frontal shot), brief male nudity (buttocks), sexual activity, incessant sexual slang and derogatory language. Lead characters, college guys about to graduate, while backpacking through Europe, are established to be looking all over the continent for sex with as many women as possible, including going into brothels and paying prostitutes. Lead characters walk in on a prostitute engaged in S&M with a customer; the main characters walk in on the scene. While inside a brothel in Amsterdam, shadows in the different rooms of people engaged in various sexual acts and positions. 


Over 100 uses of the f-word in various forms, plus slang for genitals and sexual behaviors, homosexual slurs. 


Bars advertise brands of beer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke--cigarettes and marijuana--drink to excess, do multiple drugs. Two of the main characters are drugged by women they have recently met and pass out. One of the lead characters almost gets into a bar fight before it is quickly broken up and he and his friends are kicked out of the club. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hostel is a 2006 horror movie in which a pair of American college guys backpacking through Europe in search of sex, drugs, and alcohol, find themselves in a gory nightmare of sadistic torture. This is absolutely not for kids. The premise and primary "plot" is torture, specifically, the torture of young travelers by wealthy adults who pay thousands of dollars for the experience. These images are graphic and bloody (severed limbs, penetrated genitals, sliced Achilles tendon, gouged eye, with weapons including scissors, chainsaws, knives, hammers, drills, clippers, guns, cars, and chairs). One character throws herself in front of a train when she sees her disfigurement following torture. These violent scenes are preceded by a sojourn in Amsterdam, featuring girls' breasts and one frontal nudity shot. Characters engage in boisterous sex and a man makes a homosexual pass at an unwilling young man. Characters smoke, drink, and do multiple sorts of drugs. Characters use frequent foul language (over 100 f-words, derogatory terms like "faggot" and, in this context, "gay," slang for genitals, "damn," "hell"). 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

I didn't even watch the whole movie it made me SO disgusted!

Unfortunately I went to the theater that night not even knowing what I was going to watch. This movie is so full of blatant sex scenes, nude women and perversi... Continue reading
Adult Written byskyjal April 9, 2008


I don't think this ADULTS should be watching this movie! I'm sorry I paid for the ticket! VERY disturbing!
Teen, 13 years old Written byVictorfilth818 July 9, 2010


This movie was so sick it makes Saw look like a Chick Flick :D I love Slasher Flicks like this :D If you dont like anything Gorey or if you get sick easy or are... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byminionlover246 February 19, 2016


Please do not step near this movie at all!!!! Even I should not watch it either. WARNING, don't read this part of my review if your grossed out easy: A wom... Continue reading

What's the story?

American backpackers Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) are traveling with their new friend Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson), each trying hard to impress the others with his capacity for partying. In Amsterdam, they're amazed by the availability of sex, marijuana, and hash, all of these indulgences featured in graphic imagery. The boys are thrilled to learn from the ultra-skeezy Alex (Lubomir Silhavecky) that a hostel in Slovakia promises even more loose girls and more potent drugs. They hop on a train tout de suite. Here they're forewarned of the mayhem to come when a fellow traveler, an older Dutchman (Jan Vlasák), makes an unwanted pass at Josh. Still, the boys' cockiness only escalates when they meet a few girls who do indeed seem enthralled with them, in particular Natalya (Barbara Nedeljáková) and Svetlana (Jana Kaderabkova). Soon enough, everyone is intoxicated and having sex, and one by one, the boys disappear. When he wakes up tied to a chair with a spastic German man whizzing a chainsaw over him, Paxton eventually pieces together that they have been kidnapped for use in torture rituals by wealthy customers who pay to abuse and kill pretty young tourists.

Is it any good?

HOSTEL is as brutal a film as you're likely to see in a theater; it's definitely NOT for kids. The fact that Paxton must pose as one of the clients, and, while wearing rubber aprons, endure a conversation with an anxious first-timer (Rick Hoffman) suggests the film's other agenda, the one that's not just grossing out and repulsively titillating an audience familiar with gore conventions. Whether or not Paxton recognizes his own consumerist frenzy in this pompous, too-excited goon, you can hardly miss the mirror images of grasping for hedonistic experiences at the expense of "native" cultures and compliant objects.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's rudimentary moral lessons. What lessons is the film trying to convey about backpacking through Europe or class disparities? Or, you might consider the film's evocations of movie conventions, appeals to genre connoisseurs (including homages to executive producer Quentin Tarantino). Are these images cynical responses to a violent world or incisive commentary on violence in media?

  • What do you think is the appeal of horror movies like these? Is it because of the physical responses of fear--and perhaps nausea--that graphic and grisly violence inspires in audiences? Is it dark humor? The spectacle of horrific and stomach-churning imagery normally not scene in movies, even horror movies? 

  • Why do you think that a movie as graphically violent as this would receive an R-rating, and yet a movie that would have a comparable level of graphic sex would be NC-17, assuming it would even be allowed to be shown in the average American cineplex? 

Movie details

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