Hostel would be a pretty good film if it was not for its blood splattered excesses. Its blood splattered excesses are what make it a brilliant film. Part allegorical condemnation of US foreign policy, part justification for US foreign policy, part excoriation of European snootiness, part Bratislavian tourist board film, part porno and big part gratuitous slasher movie: Eli Roth has made the kind of horror film you could talk about for hours. It stands out primarily for being a very male horror movie – with barely a female lead to follow through the cycle of sexual prudery, and redemption. It is a film though which is more than happy to link sex and drugs and death.

It is playing with a number of second hand ideas though. Whilst it may owe a few nods to Assayas’s Demonlover and some Takeshi Miike (who cameos) it is clearly a much more commercial effort. It efficiently gets to the first of its climaxes within an hour, and threatens to offer a nihilistic last half hour of sawing and poking – used up and worn out by the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That it then invokes thrilleresque chase sequences is to its credit. The blurring of genres that it then settles with may be seen as an attempt to defeminise its male American leads. It is too late by then – and even a final moment of revenge is not enough to assert any sort of US dominance – in the film or in the world. Much like Syriana (but with more optic nerve chopping) the film can play nicely to both political extremes. The US kids are murdered because of their boorish behaviour, their treatment of Europe as some sort of decadent sexual Disneyland. Alternatively the conservative can equally read that Europe is indeed that decadent and that stepping outside the country will end up with a fair number of fingers chopped off. Either way Hostel is an exploitation which is happy to exploit everything thrown at it: and have yet again the evil rich as the bad guys. Like I said, a film even a radical socialist can get with. And be made squeamish about too.