**1/2 (out of 5)
December 1, 2006
Josh Duhamel as ALEX
Melissa George as PRU
Olivia Wilde as BEA
Desmond Askew as FINN
Beau Garrett as AMY
Max Brown as LIAM
Studio: Fox Atomic
Directed by: John Stockwell
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
It’s only a few weeks before Christmas, and do you know what that means? If you were thinking about peace on Earth and good will towards men, you’d be wrong. When it comes to Hollywood, it means horror movies about human organ trafficking.
Last year, I figured the movie moguls had learned their lesson when they released the relatively decent horror flick “Wolf Creek” on Christmas day. It resulted in a bomb at the box office and a disastrous release. Apparently they didn’t learn their lesson as Fox Atomic’s flagship release is “Turistas.”
While a December release of “Turistas” seems rather odd, I don’t think it’s that unfounded from a historic perspective. After all, haven’t horror films permeated the cinemas every month of the year so far. At least with the release of “Black Christmas” later this month, it’s appropriate to the time of year.
“Turistas” falls right in line with a new breed of horror films that was started with “Saw” and perfected with “Hostel.” The plot follows a group of really attractive backpackers on their way touring Brazil. When their tour bus crashes, they wander off to find a paradise-style beach with a cabana filled with beautiful women. Of course they never question the fact that this only happens in porno movies. Rather, the kids start partying and wake up the next morning to find themselves robbed.
However, things get worse when they try to get back to civilization on foot. They get caught up in a trap which takes them to a secure location where a nut-job doctor plans to remove their organs and donate them to the Brazilian hospitals. What a humanitarian.
For what it’s worth, “Turistas” does deliver. I’ve heard more than one person describe it as “Hostel” in South American, and this isn’t that inaccurate. There seems to be a new standard horror film plot emerging that takes a slight detour from the 80s slasher flicks. If you’re into the porno-film-turned-slice-and-dice-movie, you’ll probably like “Turistas.” However, if this kind of things turns your stomach, you’ll want to stay away.
“Turistas” marks the third film in a series done by director John Stockwell, which involves pretty girls in bikinis on tropical beaches. I have no problem whatsoever with this template for a film. Things do get a bit disturbing when one of the girls is eviscerated slowly with only a local anesthetic.
I didn’t find it as nauseating as “Hostel,” but I can see where it’s going to be a problem for some people. I just don’t get into beautiful women being cut open. Honestly, I would have rather seen the actresses prance around on the beach topless again for the rest of the movie.
While I do like horror films, I’m not a huge fan of the torture/murder plots. I prefer at least some monster thrown into the mix. Give me a vampire or werewolf, and I might have found “Turistas” a little more palatable.
In some ways, the film does try to make a political statement, which is not unfounded. Anything that is at a premium – like a human organ for rapid transplantation – is usually more accessible and acquirable by the wealthy, but that’s the way it’s always going to be. I feel for the poor child in a favella in Brazil who needs a new kidney, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch young tourists cut open on a movie screen. Now maybe if it were Paris Hilton… that bird could be brought down a few notches.