I'm going to put it out there right at the start: I LOVED TURISTAS.
Yeah, I mean it. Seriously, this movie just gets shit on by almost every review that I read and it's truly not that bad. It certainly doesn't deserve the extreme low rating on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.
Okay it's cliche. I see that, I really do. It's cute people shaking their stuff in bikinis, partying and drinking in Brazil, and then being hunted down by an evil doctor who wants to take their organs! Oh my! Of course it couldn't really happen, and of course I don't see Brazil in a bad light because of this movie. Turistas came out less than a year after Hostel, and while the latter is also a relatively good film, I have way more problems with it than I do with Turistas.
The movie starts off with more of a punch than expected. Three people are traveling together on a bus in Brazil. Within a few minutes, however, the bad luck for these travelers begins as the bus careens off the road and then rolls down a steep hill. Well, shit.
|If you were on a beach in Brazil, I'm thinkin' the only thing|
on your mind would be drinkin'.
They are a nice group of kids: Bea and her brother Alex, along with Bea's hot friend Amy. While waiting on another bus, the group meets up with two funny British dudes and a travel-concious Australian girl named Pru (I love you, Melissa George). None of them are particularly bitchy or annoying, so we like them. Cute and nice. How often does that happen? After a while, they all decide to make the always wrong choice of veering from the predetermined plan and ditch the bus to enjoy a wild night on a nearby beach. They are drugged and robbed and soon find out that they are being chased down by a local doctor who wants to harvest their organs and give them to the poor people of Brazil. No, no - that wasn't an urban legend I was talking about. That was the actual plot of the movie. Even I admit, that's really lame. However, that part of the story doesn't play a huge role in the overall film, so I'll let it slide for now.
I suppose this movie is more of a thriller than horror, but it does have those horrific elements to it - some nice gore scenes of organ harvesting surgery and whatnot. And it's got sequences that are very well shot and paced, and make for an at least enjoyable experience.
Here's what I like: the music. Hopefully, that's what grabs you in the beginning. The song playing over the opening credits is catchy and fun, a definite false sense of security for the rest of the film. Other points, like the bar scenes, use what I'm guessing is authentic Brazilian music. Very spicy and fun to listen to. So at least that sets it apart from other horror/thrillers.
Also, the setting. Of course. Brazilian beaches are fucking gorgeous and I bet the cinematographer and camera guys were just orgasming throughout the shoot . But we get to visit not only the beach in this film - some nice village scenes, a creepy but awesome secluded house in the jungle, a trek through the jungle itself, and of course the huge waterfall with the underwater caves.
Granted, this is what people talk about the most when referencing this movie is the freaking underwater scenes. And that is really one of the main reasons I love this movie. The first time in the caves is when Kiko takes them to show him his "special place." And fuck me Freddy, is it special. More gorgeous scenery at which to look. But the next time we visit these caves, they are not so fun anymore.
Whilst being chased by Zamora's (the mad doctor) men, the group decides to try to lose them in the underwater caves, but the men catch up and commence chasing them UNDER-FUCKING-WATER. Having to swim fast and dodge bullets, under water, in the dark, while only have little pockets of air to breathe from? That freaks me out. I don't think I would have even wanted to be an actress in that scene.
|Two words: HELL NO.|
My other favorite scene is right after the group wakes up and finds they have been robbed. Nothing but the clothes on their backs, they trudge to a nearby village looking for help. It might sound gay to try to pull any real drama from a movie like this, but I seriously felt the hopelessness and despair from their situation. The music was good in this scene, too, and worked well with the way they had to go into this town, not really knowing where they were, in almost no clothes and barefoot. And while people might have wanted to help them, it's apparent that everyone knew what was going on and was "in on it." So yeah, their situation sucked. It did, and I felt for them.
Also: don't anybody ever try to staple my head wound. I'll just bleed to death, thanks.
Is Turistas a fantastic movie? No. Is it even a fore-runner of horror films? Nope. But it's certainly not the worst piece of crap I've ever seen, as I've so often heard other people say about Turistas. It even makes me want to visit Brazil more, weird as that sounds. Fuck, now I have add Portuguese to my list of languages to learn. Turistas is all good fun. It's catchy like a pop song, with pretty scenery, some well done suspense scenes and a few good gore highlights. I like it. So fuck you. :)