Josh Duhamel as Alex
Melissa George as Pru
Olivia Wilde as Bea
When I first watched Hostel I was not prepared for the disturbing subject matter and the realistic images of torture and bodily dismemberment. In fact, I didn’t know what to think when I left the theater…I was a bit stunned really. It took me a while to recover and decide if I really liked the movie or not. I had a similar feeling after watching Turistas, but it was different this time. Sure, the gore was shocking and realistic. Yes, the villains were inhumanly evil treating human beings like mindless objects with no inherent value. But I liked Turistas. Maybe it is because the whole “torture gore evil violence” genre of horror started by Hostel paved the way for me to become a bit desensitized. I think I will call it “Shock- Horror”.
Turistas is a story about a group of young people on vacation in Brazil. Through a series of unavoidable events along with some very bad choices they find themselves in the clutches of a Brazilian man and his henchmen who capture “ gringos” and harvest their organs for sale to the rich.
Lots of violence, suspense, tension and swimming later…Turistas is over. The chase through the underground caves will stay with me for a long time.
Prior to going to the theater my first thought was that Turistas was a rip-off of the Hostel concept. After watching the movie, however, it became clear to me that although there are unmistakable similarities (American tourists in a foreign country being victimized, over-the-top gore, evil locals) the basis for the story has more to do with adding life to a popular urban legend than copying another successful movie. Perhaps Hostel just opened the door to this type of gore…this type of suspense and victimization of the innocent. Let’s face it, the innocent being victimized is a long-standing horror (and other movie genre) norm. In fact, saying that Turistas is a copy of Hostel because tourists are tortured is much like saying that Friday the 13th is a copy of The Evil Dead because a young lovely falls down in the woods. The influences are there, but evidence of influence does not a copy make.
At the time of this writing Turistas is still in the theaters. It is not doing well, and I am not entirely sure why. From my perspective Turistas is a disturbing flick with gut-wrenching gore and squirm-in-your-seat suspense and action, leading to cheering for the hero and hoping that somebody will escape the clutches of the evil villain alive. In fact, I think I was sweating afterward.
Although disturbing and filled with gratuitous gore and torture, Turistas will go down in history as a Shock-Horror classic.