Turistas is a good screamfest. Read on:
John Stockwell’s Turistas is an utterly efficient little scream machine about unauthorized human organ donations in beautiful Brazil.
Apart from acres of gorgeous seascape, pristine beaches, jungle canopies and firm young flesh, Stockwell’s tidy exercise in horror, gore and suspense is also notable for being the first U.S. film shot entirely in that country. The Brazilian tourism industry must be so pleased.
“So you speak Spanish,” dim young thing Bea (Olivia Wilde) says to fellow traveller Pru (Melissa George) after their bus has broken down in the absolute middle of nowhere.
“Actually, they speak Portuguese,” Pru explains. As if this is going to help matters.
Given the genre, Turistas’ set-up, delivery and denouement are absolutely predictable. Think of this as Hostel Lite.
Lovely arrogant kids from countries that speak English are stranded in a foreign country with nothing to rely upon but their lack of instincts.
One bad thing leads to another and they find themselves trudging through the forest to a destination that is bent on depriving them of their livers, kidneys and lives. A few of the pluckier will survive.
In this, Turistas succeeds with remorseless vigour and no lack of skill. Whatever else he may do well, like shoot water, Stockwell has an unerring eye for framing almost naked post-adolescent bodies (see his guilty pleasures Into the Blue and Blue Crush). There’s something hormonally intoxicating about seeing these kids discovering an idyllic seaside hideaway, peeling off what little of their clothing remains and frolicking amid the waves and bemused natives.
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In theaters, December 1, 2006