Ranking All of the Eli Roth Movies

Ranking all of the Eli Roth movies

Eli Roth is a very unique director in Hollywood.  For most of his career, Roth provided us with nightmarish torture-porn films and gross-out horrors.  Then, 2018 came around and Roth showed us all that he has some versatility.  First, he released a remake of Death Wish with Bruce Willis.  This film is far more patient and moody than we are used to.  Second, he released The House With a Clock in its Walls.  The Eli Roth we all knew seems to have grown up.  One has to wonder if Eli Roth has graduated to becoming more of a mainstream director.  No longer is he relegated to low-budget gore-fests. Recently,  he has been given movies with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars with hopes to start child-friendly franchises.  Has Eli Roth evolved into more of a mainstream filmmaker?  Or will he return to his graphically violent roots? Time will tell, but The House With a Clock in its Walls was reasonably successful.  So, Roth may be have become a unique chimera where he makes family-friendly fantasy right alongside blood-soaked horror.

#7:  Knock Knock (2015)

Eli Roth has said that he was inspired by the barely seen 1977 film, Death Game when we made Knock Knock.  The entire thing feels a bit of a gender-reversed version of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games as well.  However, this film about Keanu Reeves being seduced and tortured by two coeds never quite kicks into high gear.  There is some titillating fun to be had watching Reeves try and resist the girls’ flirtations. But, when all is said and done and we are given a reason for the mayhem, it is not satisfying.  Eventually, Knock Knock comes across as a bit pointless.

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#6:  Death Wish (2018)

Bruce Willis’ star has fallen these past few years.  Although he may get back into the limelight with next year’s Split, recently he has been just doing paycheck movies.  The last film he has been in that could be called mainstream was 2014’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.  However, he did star in Eli Roth’s remake of the Charles Bronson remake Death Wish.  Surprisingly, this film isn’t as bad as you would suspect it to be.  Willis is actually acting a bit and Roth is showing a restraint that is hardly ever part of his movies.  The film is moody and fun, with short bursts of Roth-ian gore. You could honestly do a lot worse.

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#5:  The House With a Clock in its Walls (2018)

In a movie that surprised filmgoers everywhere, the master of torture-porn made a kids’ movie in 2018.  The House With a Clock in its Walls is no Harry Potter, but it is fine family-friendly entertainment.  Dreamworks and Amblin gave Roth over $40 Million and put Jack Black and Cate Blanchett in the film.  They must have had a lot of faith in Roth’s abilities to tackle the genre. Well, he was pretty successful, artistically and monetarily speaking.  We may be seeing Roth do a bit more of these films in the future. It will be interesting to see.

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#4:  Cabin Fever (2002)

Cabin Fever is a cool little horror film that introduced us to Eli Roth.  At its core, the film is about paranoia. An invisible pathogen has entered the cabin and is causing the group’s skins to essentially slough off.  No one knows how the infection is passed along, so they all want to isolate themselves. It is extremely tense and showed us how well Roth can do gore. When a girl starts shaving her legs only to leave a bloody patch of effluvia behind is a great touch.  

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#3:  The Green Inferno (2013)

The Green Inferno feels like a dare that Eli Roth took upon himself.  He had tortured people before in his Hostel films and had them melt away in Cabin Fever.  This time around, he had the incredible audacity to now have them captured, cooked, and eaten, in the most graphic way possible.  The success of this movie will 100% rely on your own cinematic bloodlust. It is drastically disgusting and uncomfortable. However, It is an amazing looking film. More than any of his other films, The Green Inferno does show off his directorial flair.  It is something to appreciate if you take a second to look away from the tribal cannibalism.

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#2:  Hostel (2005)

The 2000s was the era of torture-porn.  2004 saw the genesis of the Saw franchise.  2006 brought us the horrible Turistas.  2009 provided the grotesque gem, The Human Centipede.  However, the genre was never more popular than with Eli Roth’s Hostel.  Exhibiting how sickly talented he is, Roth told a harrowing story about how young American tourists are kidnapped and tortured by the rich.  That simple. It is hard to watch, but the visceral atmosphere is impressive and will disturb you to the core.

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#1:  Hostel Part II (2007)

For Hostel’s sequel, Eli Roth picked up right where the original film ended.  This time around, the victims are women, and it actually makes it even worse (in a good way!). Not only that, but we get a bit more depth by focusing on a few of the torturers.  It really fleshes out the Hostel mythology.  This is Eli Roth’s best to date.  Of course, there is horrific, deplorable violence and gore, but there is a sense of patience and maturity in Hostel: Part II that the first film lacked.  The highlight of the film is poor Heather Matarazzo being hung upside down above a bathtub.  That torture/butchering scene is a work of art. Well, as long as you can stomach it.

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Bonus:  Thanksgiving (Fake Trailer from Grindhouse (2007))

To further pad out their Grindhouse experiment, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez enlisted a few of their friends to direct the fake movie trailers.  It fell upon Eli Roth to direct the trailer for Thanksgiving.  It is full of gloriously corny kills and voice-over lines.  However, all you have to know is that it ends up with a full body wrapped up and cooked like a Thanksgiving turkey.  GROSS!!

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