The torture horror genre is dead. Well almost dead. Thank God.
I liked "Hostel" and it's sequal, in spite of what others have said. I liked the first "Saw" movie. That out of the way, with "Hostel Part II" tanking (and director Eli Roth posting an incredibly whiney entry in his Myspace), and inspite of the movie "Captivity" coming out, people aren't largely going to see people get tortured anymore. Ok, so there's another "Saw" movie, but that's beyond the point.
I think that people are tired of being bombarded with torture flick after torture flick. Hell, Roth has even seemed to have moved beyond the tired subgenre he helped give birth to, and is going on to do an adaptation of Stephen King's "Cell" as his next movie. The director of "Saw" went on to do the dreadful "Dead Silence", which at least saw him try something different. The director of the excellent slasher flick "High Tension" and the remake of "The Hills Have Eyes" is moving on to more creepy supernatural scare. And "28 Weeks" later not only showed that R rated horror can still do good box office, but can still be scary. Several R Rated horror films have proven that you can be scary without endless torture sequences. The problem: They haven't done good box office.
In a way, because of movies like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" and their ilk, R-Rated horror has gotten a bad buzz. Critics now use the tired phrase "torture porn" to describe such movies (really folks, torture porn is the kind of thing you find in Sweeden), and the movie going public has tired of torture. Unfortunately, this has spoiled things for other horror flicks, meaning that much better and more imaginative horror flicks either do poor box office ("Grindhouse", "The Abandoned", "Slither") get limited release ("Black Sheep", "Fido"), or get dumped straight to video ("Gravedancers", "Reincarnation", "Isolation")
People want to be scared again. They don't want to see Elisha Cuthbert get tortured by a deranged maniac. They don't want to see a woman get raped by a mutant. They want to be frightened, not put through an ordeal.
My answer to those who complain about movies that use torture: don't watch them, and they'll go away. Go see original horror movies that deserve respect and attention, like "The Descent" or "The Abandoned."
Horror isn't going to die, it's just at a crossroads. That's ok, because this always happens. The same thing happened with slasher movies in the 80's and self aware horror in the 90's. The next big thing will come eventually, and it will go, only to make way for the new one.