Turistas John Stockwell

The latest "horror” trend — besides the inexorable remake that appears to be unstoppable — seems to be the exploitation of young, hot vacationers. So far, they’ve all been surprisingly plausible circumstances; Hostel basically sunk the Czech Republic as a desirable locale for backpackers, while the same devastating effect was left on the outback thanks to Wolf Creek’s (which was actually based on true events) frightening portrayal.

Turistas takes aim at Brazil, dropping a group of Yanks and Brits in dire straits when their bus crashes en route to their resort. However, they quickly stumble upon a beach paradise that leads to raunchy dance floors, undercover prostitutes and cheap drinks. The party atmosphere quickly reveals itself though as a trap for these unsuspecting partiers, who become the target for a sinister surgeon trading organs in the black market.

First things first: by definition, Turistas isn’t technically a horror flick. The only gory details appear during the surgical scenes, and most of the violence is either conducted out of a will to survive or by some hired guns. A little reminiscent of Danny Boyle’s The Beach, the focus is the attractive cast led by Las Vegas stud Josh Duhamel and the stunning surroundings they get lost in. Unlike Hostel, the characters are mostly likeable, which will help viewers care about what transpires in the end (spoiler: it’s ever so predictable).

This kind of exploitation film would have likely worked a little better a few decades back; Stockwell uses some modern, tiresome scare tactics and jump cuts to beef up the terror, which always makes the eyes toll. Still, it isn’t a half-bad film, but one that would probably look better on DVD.

(Fox Atomic)