What's it about: Europeans strapping innocent Americans into chairs to torture them. This is why they never leave the States folks.
Who's it by: Blabber-mouth director/Frat boy Eli Roth, known across the world for talking. Sometimes about his films.
What's Good: Its a chilling central concept. The idea of Rich Business-men paying decadent amounts of money to kill someone without consequence is so plausible its scary. Supposedly, Roth came up with the idea after saying an advert with the same pitch on the internet. It has a couple of highly effective scares, and Roth's torture chamber is suitably atmospheric. Jan Vlasak, playing ' The Dutch Businessman' makes a memorable villain, and he under-plays well what could have been a purely functional villain and his killing of Derek Richardson's character Josh is a grisly but epic moment of proper horror.
What's bad: The final third. From When Jay Hernandez escapes from captivity onwards, this film is horrible. Total Amateur hour. From one contrived scene to the next, we see him just happen on every baddie involved in his capture. From the Femme Fatale he sees crossing the street to the Dutch Business-man at the train station It just lazily turns to impossible coincidence again and again to cover its loose ends. So if screen-writing isn't Roth's forte, neither is directing actors. Vlasak aside, the good guys are anonymous scalpal fodder and the bad guys generally two-dimensional guys. This concept of this film is potentially effective because of its grounding in reality. But the film is far too OTT to take best advantage of this.
Who likes it: The film did very well with the standard horror fan. In 2005 it signalled a more orginal direction in which horror movies good go. And this was very exciting for horror fans, who were tired of seeing rip-offs of Scream. It may have had something to do with the unstoppable Eli Roth hype-machine. Which before this movie's release went into overdrive. He sold it with such authority and enthusiasm that a lot of people were sure this was going to be a genre classic.
Who doesn't like it: It didnt go down too well with most critics. I remember seeing a lot of polite three star reviews, but practically no-one stuck out their head and said that this was a great movie in its own right. Similarly there isn't enough quality to suck in non diehards, for reasons mentioned above.
Where I stand: Sorry guys bu this is another thumbs down. The thing is badly written and beyond OTT in a bad way, so a couple of good scares does not compensate my time.
Where people stand: with only 55 on metacritic and 5.7 on imdb, the general concensus from both critic and user is a middle of the road judgement of averageness. I am agreed with.