Turistas Movie Review
Beautiful, naked women. Good looking men. A doctor who likes to cut open tourists. No plot. Sounds like Hostel, doesn't it? Instead, we get Turistas, a more mature but ultimately less satisfying version of Hostel - and I hated Hostel.
Turistas follows a group of recognizable but hardly A-list actors such as Josh Duhamel, Melissa George and Olivia Wilde, as well as a bunch of other expendable pretty people, as they travel the countryside of Brazil by bus. Duhamel spends most of his time complaining, acting like an idiot and proving to the world just how dumb American tourists can be, but his arguments that the bus driver is crazy do hold some truth, as the bus ends up going over a cliff - luckily with no one inside. The five or seven white tourists migrate down the hill to a village paradise, where they spend their time skinny dipping, boozing and dancing, among other things. But when they wake up in the morning, drugged with all of their belongings missing (including most of their clothes), they realize they are in trouble. As most of the villagers who greeted them so graciously the day before turn their backs, one friendly man leads them through the jungle to a house that apparently has better access to the outside world. Unfortunately for them, this house actually belongs to a doctor who likes to cut tourists up to sell their organs on the black market.
Turistas is the latest in a line of shock "horror" films where scares are less important than showing pretty people getting carved up in horrible ways. Director John Stockwell is much better than Eli Roth or the dudes behind the Saw movies, despite the fact that none of his movies have been overly impressive. Stockwell's claims to fame thus far have been Blue Crush, which put Kate Bosworth on the map, and Into the Blue, which got Jessica Alba into a bikini. Neither film was spectacular by any means, but showed that Stockwell does have an eye for visuals - even if he forget to be entertaining.
Turistas is much the same way: the movie looks good, feels more realistic and serious than Saw or Hostel by a long stretch and doesn't just throw a bunch of killing scenes at you and calls it a movie. Unfortunately, since Turistas only appeals to the fan base who likes movies like Saw or Hostel, that's a big problem, as these people are surely expecting some very explicit gore, a fair amount of nudity (that was the only good thing about Hostel) and not much else. Stockwell shies away from the gore for the most part, though the movie is not without some; unfortunately, there is too little and it comes too late. The whole movie feels a bit subdued, and when the action kicks in, most of it takes place in the dark where you can't even see what's going on, or even know which characters are on screen at any given time.
Turistas is pretty boring and proves that the presence of some good looking women in skimpy or no clothing do not make a movie good. The sexuality everyone expected is missing, it doesn't have much in the way of gore, and the death scenes are so quick and uninteresting that I can't even remember most of them. The movie looks good when it's not in the dark, but that's about it.
Turistas isn't a complete disaster, but it's just a boring retread of other bad movies that were at least a little more entertaining.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.