Go ahead and yawn. Turistas is just another disposable piece of pseudo-exploitation trash that has arrived in the wake of the success of Hostel, a film that, while flawed, at least had the benefit of some psychological plausibility. Nightmares of isolation and unendurable pain are the calling card of this sub-genre, and it has already outstayed its welcome by many months.
Turistas plays to the format flawlessly, first by introducing us to the expendable group of horny college bums (including Josh Duhamel, Olivia Wilde, and Beau Garrett), filling them up with beer and then having them drugged, robbed, and at the mercy of a local (Agles Steib). The local, of course, works for a “humanitarian madman,” as I like to call them, this time a doctor who believes that young, privileged people take advantage of the country (in this case, Brazil) and thus deserve to have their organs removed for the benefit of the dying patients at his hospital. Cue the scalpel.
The “centerpiece,” if you will, is the graphic removal of a character’s kidney while said character is mildly sedated, but alive. Is this supposed to be scary, let alone entertaining? You can see the same thing on TLC, only with less chatter. Worse yet, the entire final twenty minutes are shot so under lit and poorly edited that the viewer can barely even tell what’s happening on screen. On second thought, that isn’t such a bad thing.
The director here is John Stockwell, who made last year’s comparably incompetent Into the Blue. In both cases beautiful scenery can’t even save his efforts. He obviously saw that there was a quick buck to be made in gutting attractive teenagers, plus this gave him another opportunity to film the female backside in voyeuristic fashion. He has to be every fifteen-year-old male’s favorite director.
The way of the torture film is yesterday’s news, and it’s time for it to die in the same fashion that it takes joy in afflicting. There is nothing left to do, no scares to be had, and no brain cells to be found. The tagline says “go home.” I say “stay home.”
Studio: Fox Atomic Films
Length: 89 Minutes
Rating: R for strong graphic violence and disturbing content, sexuality, nudity, drug use and language.
Theatrical Release: December 1, 2006
Directed by: John Stockwell
Written by: Michael Ross
Cast: Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde, Desmond Askew, Beau Garrett, Max Brown