‘Turistas’ reinvents old ideas

Ryan Haidet

New horror film carries on tradition of extreme, over-the-top violence

There’s a popular urban legend where a person wakes up in a bathtub filled with ice only to realize that a kidney has been removed.

Turistas, the first film produced by Fox Atomic, Fox’s new film division targeted at young adults, addresses a similar situation – the removal of human organs.

Though it’s somewhat reminiscent of last year’s horror hit Hostel, where a group of travelers are kidnapped and taken to a building where people pay top dollar to torture them, Turistas is a better film.

In Turistas, a group of young backpackers is stranded when their bus crashes in Brazil. Since nobody was hurt, being stranded doesn’t seem that bad to them because there are beautiful sandy beaches, lots of alcohol and attractive people. They decide to hang out and party for a while to experience the beauty of it all.

But first impressions aren’t always what they seem to be.

The twisted occurrences that soon take place are as mangled as the branches in the lush jungle.

After many drawn-out sequences, the film picks up with some graphic, hard-to-watch scenes, including the gutting of a character who is still living.

With the recent horror boom, filled with shocking elements, it is hard to shock and disgust audiences anymore. Turistas, for some, will succeed.

Director John Stockwell said in the November issue of Fangoria magazine that the horrifying idea behind this film – the harvesting of human organs – is something that has actually happened.

Stockwell, who has recently helmed the dramatic action thriller Into the Blue and the popular surfer-girl flick, Blue Crush, has become an expert at shooting underwater adventures.

The latter portion of Turistas is filled with loads of underwater explorations and chases that are shot extremely well. The lighting is unique, enhancing the deep blue colors of the sea as well as creating intense claustrophobia.

Imagine not having any break in the water’s surface, just a rocky cave top where a few air bubbles have developed. This becomes a reality for a few of the characters who suck the air bubbles dry like mosquitoes desperate for blood.

Turistas is an old idea adapted into something new. At times, it doesn’t even feel like a horror movie as much as an attempt to sell the images of the barely dressed, attractive young cast.

The horror aspect comes in the form of the villains. Their faces aren’t hidden behind hockey masks; they look like ordinary people. The shocking part comes is these normal looking people have no problem gutting live humans and thinking it’s for a good cause.

Although filled with interesting elements, Turistas is only trying to cut off the successful torture ideas from Hostel. There are also scenes too drawn out in the attempt to make the film longer.

Despite its flaws, Turistas is a movie worth shelling out money for, if only to watch it spill its guts all over the screen.

Contact ALL correspondent Ryan Haidet at [email protected].


Starring Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde, Desmond Askew, Beau Garrett and Max Brown

Directed by John Stockwell

Distributed by Fox Atomic

Rated R for strong graphic violence and disturbing content, sexuality, nudity, drug use and language

Stater rating (out of five): ???