Hostel BRAY Cover Art
SRP $28.95 2.35:1 Dolby TrueHD5.1 SONY

SONY is releasing both "HOSTEL" and "HOSTEL 2" on blu-ray, just in time for Halloween!  The blu-ray release of "HOSTEL" offers the option, via seamless branching, of either the unrated cut, or the director's cut. 

The plot is actually pretty exciting. Two college friends vacationing in Slovakia, party it up, go dancing, clubbing, and meet two beautiful women, whom, they find out, have lured them to be victims of a secretive "torture" club, wherein high paying members get to slowly torture and kill from a variety of kidnapees, for a high fee.

It's hard to sit through, but unlike the vastly overrated "CABIN FEVER," Director Eli Roth, proves he can tell a story and the pacing is excellent.  Jay Hernandez, in the main role, is outstanding and completely believable. He actually gives the film weight, making this bizarre tale seem real.  There's a heavy "HITCHCOCK" influence in several sequences, and the lurid material is given a serious atmosphere, separating it from the less artful "SAW" films. 

While both versions are interesting, this reviewer actually prefers the unrated version over the director's cut, based on the ending.

SONY has provided a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer with 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are solid and perfectly captured throughout. While the first half of the film tends to be bright, colors are never over-saturated. The latter half offers more subdued imagery and the contrast here is flawless, offering incredible detail in the typically darker scenes. Deep blacks and grays are perfect throughout. This is one of the best looking blu-rays of the past two months.

SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix.  While not an aggressive mix, surrounds and discrete effects are carefully utilized throughout. Even quieter(few and far between)scenes will impress. The dynamic range is excellent. The tense score, along with various ambient effects, are perfectly balanced with dialogue.

While there are four commentaries, including one with Tarantino, the one featuring Roth by himself, is best!

Featurettes and a great documentary are included!