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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Turistas

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Judy Thorburn

Turistas

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"TURISTAS" IN BRAZIL EXPERIENCE BLOOD, SWEAT AND FEARS

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico have been the extent of my travels outside the U.S. So, while I haven’t visited Europe or other exotic foreign locations, I’ve heard that many people have had bad experiences as a tourist in other countries. But, I doubt they have incurred anything like what happens to the backpacking young vacationers in the thriller, Turistas. To begin with, the characters survive an accident involving their tour bus, which leaves them stranded out in the middle of nowhere. If that sounds bad enough, well, it only gets worse for this group of young “turistas” (you needn’t speak the language to know that’s Portuguese for tourists), who find themselves far from home, living a nightmare in the desolate mountains of Brazil.

After narrowly escaping from their tour bus before it tumbles off a cliff and is destroyed, six tourists from the U.S. Australia, Europe and England find their way to a bar on a remote beach and begin partying into the night before waking up the next morning and realizing they had been drugged and robbed of all their belongings, including money and passports. What appears to be much needed aid comes in the form of a young local named Kiko (Agles Steib), who promises to lead them to a house where they can get help in returning home. Only the place isn’t near and the perilous journey involves marching through the dense jungle and swimming through underwater caves. Far from a being a “safe” house, they soon discover that the secluded shack is actually used as a facility for Zamora, a maniacal Brazilian doctor, where he surgically removes the organs from unwilling abducted tourists to be used for rich native patients in need. You see, Zamora is a disgruntled Brazilian with a political chip on his shoulder and he justifies his actions with an explanation during one of his “cut and steal” surgeries. He hates foreigners and rather enjoys torturing and mutilating his chosen victims. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the marooned tourists have been set up and are next in line.

The most recognized stars of Turistas are Josh Duhamel (co-star of TV’s Las Vegas) as Alex, the hunky young American tourist and Melissa George (seen as Vaughn’s villainous wife in TV’s Alias) as Pru, the pretty Australian who is fluent in Portuguese and thereby acts as the group’s interpreter. The remaining members of this good looking (that’s always a prerequisite) group of tourists in trouble are less familiar faces: Olivia Wilde as Alex’s sister Bea, Beau Garrett as Bea’s friend Amy, Desmond Askew and Max Brown as British blokes Finn and Liam.

As for the premise, it certainly isn’t original. How many times have we followed a storyline about innocent characters that become unwitting victims of an evil nut job? I’ll tell you; too many times. Only nowadays the horror appeal seems to be the grosser and more graphic, the better. Just last year the flick, Hostel, involved three young travelers on a European vacation that wind up being misled, with no idea what they are in for. In his screenwriting debut, film editor Michael Arlen Ross copies that formula but moves the location to South America, has a different bunch of characters who are required to basically act scared and desperate to escape for their lives, has females who look fabulous in a bikini, a devious, torture loving villain, and you get the picture. The lost travelers may be attractive, but not particularly smart. First they follow a stranger into perilous territory without asking questions and when the doctor’s pretty assistant warns them to run away as fast they can before its too late, her words are ignored and they just stand there waiting to be led into the slaughterhouse.

Director John Stockwell does have a talent for creating great underwater shots (Into the Blue, Blue Crush) and he doesn’t disappoint when he has cinematographer Enrique Chediak taking us right into the environment as he captures some gorgeous sky view scenes of the countryside and sweaty jungle. On the other side of the coin, much of what are supposed to be tension filled scenes are photographed in the dark that it is hard to tell what is going on. As a billed suspenseful horror film, I found it rather tame compared with other recent films of this genre. There is one good, tension filled chase scene that ends in a gruesome death, but surprisingly there isn’t a lot of blood and gore as expected. Those who can’t get enough, will have to be satisfied with the scene that shows one of the female victims who is clearly out of it and doesn’t scream, while having her mid section cut open and her organs removed.

It’s all so predictable. Of course, a few of the young tourists have to die one way or another. But, since it is never the leading man (in this case Duhamel) it is just a matter of guessing whom and in what order.

If I had to buy a ticket to see Turistas, I wouldn’t waste my valued time and money since it lacks enough tension, suspense and genuine scares to be classified as a first rate thriller. I’ve seen better made for TV movies. If you still want to see it, wait till it comes out on video so you can watch it in the comfort and “safety” of your own home.