Rising star Josh Duhamel (TV's Las Vegas) leads a group of young backpackers who find themselves stranded on a remote Brazilian beach; an exotic paradise, with warm sunshine, cool ocean breezes, and plenty of hot bodies. B... more »ut, after a night of partying, the wayward turistas are drugged and robbed, and their dream vacation becomes a gruesome nightmare. Trapped and desperate, the vulnerable travelers are lured deep into the menacing jungle and beyond, where a dark and twisted fate too terrifying to imagine awaits.« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 2/19/2010...
Boring waste of time. This film is annoying. It's a badly made thriller that fails throughout. After the surprise success of Hostel it seemed as if numerous films were rushed into production in an attempt to cash in. This movie is bad. It has no purpose or actual point whatsoever.
3 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 12/02/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm sure that "Turistas" started out as a good idea, and it must have remained so at the start of the screenplay development process. Even in the final filmed version, parts of this good idea remained; it involves an isolated group of organ harvesters living in the deep jungles of Brazil. They obtain everything from unwitting tourists that wander into a phony beach/bar getaway. The notion that someone would remove your vital organs against your will is genuinely scary, and I have no doubt that such people actually exist, hidden away within the nooks and crannies of the earth. It's a very uncomfortable thought, and I give the film credit for making me second-guess any plans to visit Brazil.
But this film is loaded with problems, enough to outweigh the effectiveness of the underlying idea. "Turistas" is misguided practically from the start, missing the mark as both a horror film and a social commentary. The first hour does nothing but continuously build tension, which I suppose can be effective when constructed properly (consider Ridely Scott's "Alien"). But by the time we actually get to the scarier moments of the remaining thirty minutes--moments highlighted by medical cruelty and violence--we come to the realization that there's hardly anything to have gotten tense about. I say this from a horror fan's point of view; if a story is meant to be scary, then it should remain consistently scary almost all throughout. Saving the shocking moments for the end simply does not work.
And then there are the turistas--or tourists in the native English. They're represented as a ragtag group of well-toned twenty-somethings from all walks of life. No matter how hard I tried to understand them, no matter how open-minded I made myself to their situations, I never once believed them to be genuine. They felt about as realistic and complex as clones from a cheaply produced 1990s teen slasher film (all of which were clones to begin with, I might add). The most important characters are the brother and sister duo of Alex (Josh Duhamel) and Bea (Olivia Wilde). Alex is inexplicably and unrealistically overprotective of Bea: she couldn't go to Brazil unless he went with her; she shouldn't put ice in her drinks because there's the risk of dysentery; she shouldn't have chosen a bus as a mode of transportation because their going through the mountains and the driver seems a bit reckless.
But as it turns out, the bus driver actually is reckless; in attempting to avoid hitting a group of people crossing the road, the bus violently swerves off the edge. Luckily, everyone manages to get out before the bus loses its balance and falls down a two hundred foot incline. Still, everything is ruined. With nothing left to wait around for, Alex, Bea, and a small group of people decide to try and find help. In their searching, they find a seemingly remote yet beautiful beach area, complete with a well-stocked bar and attractive girls (this is especially enticing for a pair of loud mouthed Londoners). For a few hours, everyone has a good time; they swim, they play volleyball, and they dance the night away to the sound of throbbing Brazilian dance music. And they drink. A lot.
What they don't yet realize is that every single drink from that little bar has been spiked with a powerful drug. Almost immediately, everyone passes out directly on the shoreline. When they wake up, they discover that they've been robbed, and worse yet, some of the other tourists are missing. Here is where the obligatory nightmare begins, most of which I found difficult to accept as plausible. For one thing, the only "reliable" source of help is Kiko (Agles Steib), a native Brazilian who speaks broken English. It's immediately obvious that in real life, no one, not even those in a desperate situation, would follow his lead. However, dimwitted characters in a substandard film certainly would. He first leads the group to a dilapidated village with no form of law enforcement (it's there that they see some of their missing items in the hands of the locals). No help there. Yet they keep following him, and he takes them through dense jungles and up steep mountains. He's supposedly leading them to his uncle's remote cabin; a place he claims will keep everyone safe.
But before they reach their destination, they stop at a picturesque waterfall area with underground caves just waiting to be explored. Thus begins a second scene of swimming, frolicking, and happiness. I'm sorry, but I thought these characters were supposed to be frightened, desperate, and in need of help. Why in God's name are they stopping to take a dip? There's one character in particular I wish had asked that question: her name is Pru (Melissa George), an Australian who frequently travels and speaks fluent Portuguese. I initially thought she had the most common sense, even more so than Alex. Someone of such mental clarity should be able to see how foolish it would be to stop in the middle of an important journey to have fun.
But I guess she's the wrong person to rely on. And like everyone else in the group, she has no idea what they're in for. They finally reach this deserted cabin, only to find it mysteriously filled with food, drugs, clothing, and medical supplies (you'd think they'd make use of them when Kiko accidentally splits his head open, but no; they use a staple gun). And then they meet Kiko's uncle, who majestically flies in by helicopter. He's a cold, cold man, and he's apparently tired of tourists draining Brazil of its resources (he shows his angry side early on by shoving a wooden skewer through his henchman's right eye). As payback, he kidnaps the tourists, drugs them, and surgically removes specific organs. This brings to light the social commentary mentioned earlier; if the nations of the world hope to earn one another's friendship, all the silly political squabbling needs to stop.
Can we all agree that that's an absolutely stupid message to put in a thriller, especially one involving some gory medical shots? I certainly hope we can. I won't bother with describing the climactic dissection scene, but I think it's safe for you to assume that you'll be in for some ugly visuals. I won't even bother with describing anymore of this film, something that only amounted to underachievement. I can appreciate the thought that went into "Turistas"; I can tell that it was intended to be a horror film, and for a story of that genre, the idea definitely had potential. Unfortunately, its execution was handled badly. I left the theater feeling an unwelcome mixture of boredom, unpleasantness, and indifference. Who would actually want to watch this kind of filmmaking? No one from Brazil, that's for sure."
Throwback to 70's horror...
MattW | Seattle, WA USA | 02/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was suprised to find that this movie was pretty decent. The cast of characters were unsurprisingly one dimensional with very little to go on, such as perhaps understanding any single motivation. The acting is strictly mediocre, with some gaping holes in plot and logic. Nonetheless the film held my attention and was far superior to some of it's peers of late. The story itself is rather ludicrous, but looking past that, the arch of the film is interesting and the direction of the plot is somewhat unique in that it sets itself apart from its counterparts by breaking away from a few of the standard genre cliches. I was impressed by the action sequences, and the film get's huge bonus points for the locales and general atmosphere. I also of course love the fact that the movie is wonderful exploitative as far as making sweeping and hugely exagerated statements about Brazil and American tourists. It reminded me of some of the better 70's exploitation film (mainly Italian cannibal fair) in that it offers up some gruesome deaths in gorgeous exotic settings and plays on stereotypes and urban lore, to maximum effect. Not as smart as Hostel, but not as banal as Wolf Creek, this lands somewhere in the middle."
Like Hostel, But Better
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 01/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Among the better movies from the recent batch of extreme/torture horror, it's a shame that Turistas is probably destined forever to live in the shadows of the "Hostel" series, because it's significantly better than either installment that Hostel has yet produced. Following an unmistakably similar plot as the first "Hostel" - although I think both movies started production at about the same time and this one just took longer to finish - "Turistas" finds (as does its better-known peer) a group of vacationers travelling to an exotic hot spot (in this case Brazil) for a fun-filled getaway, only to run afoul of a local group of brutal, torture-minded psychopaths. The main differences are, I guess, rather subjective. Personally, I thought Turistas was scarier and sexier than Hostel, and had more likable protagonists and more interesting villains. In the first half, there's little overtly horror movie-ish about the film: the main group is prevented from going to their upper-scale tourist destination because of a bus mishap, and ends up at a more off-the-main-path destination, a small village by the beach without the big hotels from tourist brochures, but with festive, smaller-scale, attractions - open air beach bars, big evening bonfire parties, all that kind of thing. They end up making friends with some fellow travellers and with the locals, but some of those locals have a keen interest in the newcomers that doesn't seem to be on the up and up. Come the next day, the vacationers find they've been robbed and the village starts to seem less than friendly, so, with the help of a local they've befriended, head off towards less threatening envirorns, travelling through a swath of rainforest on what turns out to be a very ill-fated trek. The sexy, fun-natured and sometimes humorous angles of the early parts end up meshing very well (and better than what might be expected) with the dark, deeply intense nature of the movie's second half.
Having established its tourist characters as actually likable and interesting, "Turistas" also brings up the level of its bad guys a bit more than a number of similar movies have done. The ringleader of the group, while certainly not rising to the level of a character like Jigsaw, is well-crafted and believable, a highly intelligent but unflichingly sadistic mastermind. For his accomplices, he's surrounded himself not only with like-minded psychopaths, but a few less obvious choices: desperate, confused and often embittered characters, who he's recruited by not only presenting to them the only feasible means out of their own destitution, but by being a smooth, manipulative talker who can paint even horrible acts (such as his 'organ-harvesting' operation) as being somehow justified. The prescence of these 'reluctant villains', and of the element of the evil charmer who's skilled enough to make people act in ways they'd normally never even consider, are both welcome angles.
With the movie developing into some intense battles, it's in ways like an action movie that's presented as a horror movie. It manages some genuine scares, and hits psychological horror notes as well as gory, visceral horror notes. Well acted and well directed, with impressive camerwork, especially in the underwater sequences. The movie utilizes a kind of unique use of lighting, and sometimes color, to create an effect that really captures the atmosphere and heat, making certain daytime scenes feel like they're drenched in hot sunlight.
"Turistas" is a fine addition to the pantheon of horror movies, and shouldn't be overlooked just because of its similarities to other movies, although the torturous nature of the organ-harvesters means that it's not for everybody. It is a reminder though, that just because a movie isn't exactly reinventing the wheel in terms of storyline, it can still be a great movie."
Not Too Scary, Not Too Gory, Not Too Good
K. Fontenot | The Bayou State | 12/12/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Next time you find yourself stranded in Nowheresville, Brazil, "Take the plane," according to Alex (Josh Duhamel), just one of the unlucky tourists in "Turistas." The story revolves around a group of young and hard bodies of differing nationalities who get stranded when their bus takes a really bad turn and goes off of a cliff. The tourists are welcomed to a nearby small town while waiting for another bus that seems to be perfect for parties on the surface, but holds a dark secret underneath. As the tale unfolds, the group finds themselves the targets of a vengeful man hoping to cash in on their organs. Who makes it out alive? Sit through ninety tedious minutes and you'll find out.
**Potential Spoilers** Featuring stock characters and stock gore, this film struggles to find its way. At one point it is a gore film, but when compared to other recent splatter flicks like "Hostel" and "Wolf Creek," it comes up short in the blood and guts department. Next we find it trying to be a suspense yarn with underwater cavern chases. Unfortunately, these chases become boring to watch and difficult to keep up with. Lastly, the movie takes a light shot at social commentary, but organ stealing is hardly a new topic, and I honestly don't think that most tourists are as dense as this gaggle of goof-offs.
Now I do understand that the characters had to be somewhat dumbed down in order to move the tale along, but I found myself not really pulling for any of them. I could care less who lost their kidneys or if they were conscious when their livers were removed. We are expected to cheer on Duhamel and his on-screen sister, Bea (Olivia Wilde), but I really saw no reason to. The rest of the group serves no great purpose other than to be victims, excepting the supposed "smart" member of the party, Pru (Melissa George).
The primary villain in this film, Zamora (Miguel Lunardi), comes off as an arrogant dictator who isn't as tough as you'd expect a primary villain to be. I honestly don't see how any of his lackeys could fear him. In fact, he wasn't scary at all.
Light gore, dull suspense, a disjointed plot, and modest acting adds up to a clunker in my book. I'd consider "Turistas" a rental at best. If you prefer more gore (though not necessarily a better story) check out the "Hostel" flicks. For an actual good gory story, "Wolf Creek" is your best bet. For suspense in a cave, I highly recommend "The Descent.""