Every Eli Roth Movie, Ranked From Screw-Ups to THE Movie
Approved by Quentin Tarantino.
Famous for his love of horror and dark fantasy, Eli Roth is a divisive figure in the eyes of critics. With a unique blend of genres, he gained recognition from Quentin Tarantino 's Inglourious Basterds, playing The Bear Jew, a bat-wielding member of the Basterds.
Although Roth's films are often labeled as trashy horror, ranging from violent to comedic, as a cult director he challenges expectations and pushes the boundaries of genre filmmaking. Here are all 8 of Eli Roth's films, ranked from his very beginning to his most recent feats.
8. Knock Knock (2015)
Delving into the home invasion theme, Keanu Reeves stars as Evan, an architect who is targeted by two deranged girls played by Ana de Armas and Lorenza Izzo. The movie takes a dark turn when the two innocent women begin torturing Evan physically and mentally, culminating in threats of violence and blackmail.
While Reeves' standout performance elevates the film, Knock Knock remains a lackluster movie, with interpretations ranging from a cheeky feminist thriller to an irresponsible piece of pornographic garbage.
7. The Green Inferno (2013)
Drawing inspiration from the controversial 1980s film Cannibal Holocaust, Eli Roth's story delves into extreme violence with his The Green Inferno work. While the portrayal of indigenous groups has sparked global criticism, the film has garnered praise for its nostalgic nod to drive-in movies, with notable support from writers like Stephen King.
Despite the intense subject matter, Roth's tribute to cannibal horror films with a group of environmental activists facing capture by an Amazonian tribe resonated with horror fans and showcased Roth's undeniable talent within his own genre.
6. Hostel: Part II (2007)
The sequel to Roth's 2005 cult torture porn horror ramps up the blood and gore while revisiting the original concept of its predecessor. The film explores wealthy Europeans who pay to torture American tourists, echoing the disturbing theme of power and privilege from the first installment.
Though critics criticized its lack of innovation, much to Roth's frustration, the film, like its forerunner, delves into the dark undercurrents of how wealth enables heinous acts, with fans appreciating its geopolitical commentary.
5. Death Wish (2018)
Moving away from his horror roots, Roth took on the directing duties for a 2018 remake of a 1974 vigilante action thriller starring Bruce Willis. The film delves into themes of revenge, with explicit scenes that perpetuate stereotypes surrounding urban crime. The narrative follows Paul Kersey, a Chicago doctor, on a quest for vengeance against those who attacked his family.
Rather than subverting the lone wolf gunman trope, Roth chose to reinforce it — a decision that was criticized by many critics who found it out of touch with the social undertones of 2018.
4. The House With A Clock In Its Walls (2018)
This stylish adaptation of John Bellairs' 1970s mystery novels kicks off Eli Roth's foray into the world of family fantasy. Starring Jack Black as the warlock Jonathan Barnavelt and Cate Blanchett as the witch Florence Zimmerman, the CGI-packed film seamlessly blends elements of horror with a PG level of humor.
The film's star-studded cast and Roth's diverse talents played a crucial role in the film's box-office triumph, even if the film did not fully capture the essence of the novel.
3. Cabin Fever (2002)
Eli Roth's directorial debut, Cabin Fever, is a tacky horror that deconstructs the college kids-on-vacation trope, starring Rider Strong in a cast of familiar horror characters. A forerunner of Roth's later successes, this early 2000s flick pays homage to classic low-budget horrors as college students battle a flesh-eating virus in an isolated cabin.
Notably, Hostel fans found value in the film's geopolitical undercurrents, illustrating how affluence and influence enable individuals to engage in reprehensible acts.
2. Thanksgiving (20023)
A dark and gory slasher comedy inspired by his fictional trailer in the 2007 Grindhouse double feature, Eli Roth's latest addition to the collection, Thanksgiving, marks a return to the director's horror roots. The film is steeped in social commentary that takes aim at consumerism and distorted traditions as it takes place in Plymouth after a deadly Black Friday madness.
In this narrative, an axe-murderer seeks revenge for his losses during the incident, delving into the darker aspects of a traditional American holiday. Thanksgiving has been praised for its clever and comedic approach to slasher tropes, hinting at the potential start of a new slasher franchise.
1. Hostel (2005)
In Eli Roth's second directorial effort, the horror provocateur explores the dark consequences of late-stage capitalism through a gruesome tale of college friends on a European backpack tour gone awry. Inspired while in the pool with Quentin Tarantino, Roth crafts a movie that goes beyond gore, delving into social taboos and involving the audience in the brutal narrative.
The story unfolds in Slovakia, where the friends become victims of a sinister business that caters to the sadistic desires of the wealthy. With its deeper message and well-directed horror elements, Hostel stands as a thought-provoking entry in the torture porn horror subgenre.
Stolz der Nation (2009)
Beyond his noteworthy performance in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, Eli Roth assumed the directorial responsibilities for the film's fictional work, Stolz der Nation. This Nazi propaganda movie, intricately integrated into the broader narrative, spotlights the infamous "achievements" of German sniper Fredrick Zoller.
Roth's meticulous direction involved orchestrating the hundreds of extras, emphasizing the film's dual fascination with cinematic art and its pulp-inspired, reimagined perspective on history. Notably, Quentin Tarantino himself made a cameo appearance as an extra in Roth's short film, adding an additional layer of connection between the two filmmakers.