“Turistas” (2006) isn’t quite as bad as all its countless negative reviews make it out to be; I’d call it an average horror film and rate it a 6 out of 10. It takes the formula of 2005’s vastly superior “Hostel” (tourists at an exotic location are systematically kidnapped and killed) with a popular urban legend (organ harvesting).
I’d guess that there were two primary reasons why this disappointed audiences the way that it did. First, it’s relatively slow for a mainstream horror film. The “horror” doesn’t start until a full hour into the movie; the first hour is devoted to a lengthy setup and a (rather beautiful) examination of the natural beauty of Brazil, where the story is set.
Second, there is probably less gore than you’d expect, given the film’s story device. Outside of the scene depicted in the poster below (and all of the film’s trailers), there’s actually very little to satisfy gorehounds excited by the movie’s premise.
It’s worth noting here, too, that the film was boycotted in Brazil — it certainly doesn’t portray its Brazilian characters in a favorable light. (Lead actor Josh Duhamel even apologized publicly to the country.)
With all of that said, I don’t really hate “Turistas.” It has has three actors that I enjoy watching. Duhamel himself is just great, as are Olivia Wilde and Melissa George. I thought Miguel Zamore made a pretty decent villain. The scenery was gorgeous, the setup succeeded in building tension for me, and the story device was nicely unsettling. (Yeesh.)
I can’t actually recommend this movie, as I doubt others will be as forgiving with it as I am. But I liked it well enough.