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Turistas (2006)

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Plot Summary:
"A group of young backpackers' vacation turns sour when a bus accident leaves them marooned in a remote Brazilian jungle that holds an ominous secret."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 20 August 2008 My Rating: out of 5


Multicultural tourists (Yanks Josh Duhamel, Olivia Wilde, and Beau Garrett, party-loving Brits Desmond Askew and Max Brown, and bilingual Aussie Melissa George) looking for a good time in Brazil are left stranded in Nowheresville after a bus crash (quite well-done, too). Instead of waiting around for help, they venture to a private beach in search of a good time. Unfortunately, they get drugged and robbed, in worse trouble than they were before.

But it’s OK, friendly native Kiko (Agles Steib) agrees to guide them through the wilderness to his ‘uncle’s’ cabin to wait for suitable transportation. He even makes a detour to a lovely waterfall and some underwater caves. But the tourists (Turistas being Brazilian for tourists) don’t know that Kiko’s uncle (Miguel Lunardi) ain’t a guy they want to meet, and he has very special plans for them.

This 2006 horror flick has a slightly better cast than “Hostel”, slightly more likeable characters than “Hostel”, is slightly less unpleasant than “Hostel”, slightly better paced than “Hostel”, slightly more palatable than “Hostel”, and director John Stockwell is a slightly better visual stylist than “Hostel” director Eli Roth. Unfortunately, the film is also only slightly different in plot and purpose to “Hostel”, and that really hurts this sometimes watchable, competently made, but plagiaristic, profit-motivated exercise (Yeah, most films are designed to make money, but still...). What also hurts the film, is that the lead villain, isn’t very interesting (though the dastardly plot is a bit more plausible than in “Hostel”), and we don’t get to see enough of him. I wouldn’t exactly recommend it to people who, like me, hated “Hostel” (it’s really just that film but set in Brazil), but credit where credit is due, Stockwell and cinematographer Enrique Chediak sure know how to make some pretty pictures (underwater photographer Peter Zuccarini is a different story, though...), and both Duhamel and George are more ingratiating screen presences than any of the actors in “Hostel”, despite being given little to work with (Duhamel especially gets little in the way of character depth). Steib, as the morally conflicted Kiko steals the picture, in perhaps the best written part.

Tolerable, so long as you don’t mind your torture porn flicks, but definitely a major case of plagiarism, and if you don't like this sort of thing, you're probably not going to find much of interest here. It looks good, at any rate.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 11 June 2007 My Rating: out of 5

Josh Duhamel, Melissa George and Olivia Wilde star in Paradise Lost, which our US readers will have seen in cinemas six months ago under the title of Turistas. Sporting its brand new title and marketing campaign, the film looks set to do well in the UK and I have to admit that despite mostly bad reviews from US critics, the film has been heaped with praise over here and I enjoyed it.

Beginning with a cool bus crash, which acts as the meeting for Americans Alex (Duhamel), his younger sister Bea (Olivia Wilde), her friend Amy (Beau Garrett), Australian Pru (Melissa George) and Brit backpackers Liam (Max Brown) and Finn (Desmond Askew). The group are forced to wait hours for another bus, but after an altercation with some locals, head to a nearby beach bar and decide to stay and party rather than wait for the bus. They meet Swedish couple Svend and Annika and have the time of their lives. The next morning they awaken to find that they have been drugged and robbed. Without any money, clothes or passports they head to the nearest town where an altercation with a young boy leads to them seeking shelter in their new found friend Kiko’s uncle’s house in the middle of the Brazilian jungle. It doesn’t take long for the group to realise that they have been led into mortal danger.

This starts well with the cool bus crash sequence but then takes a long time to get to the pointy end of the scalpel so to speak, as we are forced to watch the group wander through beaches, forests, jungles, slums and caves before we finally get to the scary stuff. There are two brutal and wince inducing deaths to be found here as well as some truly gory surgery sequences, machete wounds, split heads, gaping wounds and shot gun blasts, but the gore is not the film’s scariest factor.

If Director John Stockwell (himself no stranger to horror having starred in John Carpenter’s Christine) had spent more time focusing on fear of unknown cultures and the language barrier, the film may have been slightly more effective. As it stands however, despite some dumb character moves, I felt a genuine dread and uneasiness as the group uncovers their intended fates and a slight claustrophobia during the extended underwater chase sequence towards the film’s climax.

Paradise Lost showcases beautiful scenery, a great cast familiar to any teen TV watcher and some cringe-worthy deaths; I felt however that whilst it had more of an overall storyline going for it, I wasn’t as scared here as I was with Hostel. I don’t like to compare the two films as they are both very different, but the comparisons are inevitable due to the similar subject matter.

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