Hostel Unrated Widescreen Cut—Sony Pictures

Video: 3
Audio: 3
Extras: 4

OK now, I don’t say this very often, but this movie is messed up. It’s actually pretty good—don’t misunderstand—but this well-crafted tale of three impossibly obnoxious tourists on a budget takes many a dark twist, with lots of unapologetically graphic violence. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Filmed in the crumblier sections of Czechoslovakia, Hostel displays some interesting details in the local architecture, and it uses the play of light and color to unsettling effect. But softer areas of the 2.35:1 anamorphic frame do not reproduce well, and some mild haloing is evident. The surround channels of the Dolby Digital 5.1 track are well exploited, with lots of creepy atmospheric effects, moans, and screams in the museum scenes, with urchins scurrying from front to back and side to side. Some other powerful touches are a victim’s panicked breathing under a black hood, the rumble and squeal of a train, and the full spread of music across all of the speakers.

Writer/director Eli Roth yaks it up in four different running audio commentaries, one solo and the other three with the likes of Web-meister Harry Knowles and an increasingly chatty Quentin Tarantino, one of the executive producers. “Kill the Car!” makes amusing use of multiangle technology. At some point during the often-bizarre, three-part making-of, you realize that this production must have been a blast and that the movie is destined to become a cult classic.

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