Following the release of Lord of the Rings tourism in New Zealand shot up something like 500 %. People flocked to the picturesque country drawn by the stunning scenery in the film. So we know that movies can have an enormous impact on travel to exotic lands. I would suggest that if Turistas, the new splatter film starring Josh Duhamel becomes a big hit, the tourism board of Brazil may have some damage control to do.
Turistas tells the sad tale of a group of gringos who get stranded on a beautiful beach after a bus crash. It’s a tropical paradise with rolling blue waves, white sand, but more importantly free flowing booze, friendly locals, bikinis aplenty and fun for all… fun until they get drugged, robbed and kidnapped.
Turistas is another young tourist in trouble movie along the same line as last year’s Hostel. It plays on primal fears; the panic inspired by confined spaces, the dark and, of course, having your organs harvested by a mad doctor for re-sale on the black market.
This last one is the part the Brazilian tourism board might object to.
Most of the film is spent following the bikini and speed-o clad heroes as they run, swim and hike away from the bad guys. When they do meet up with the villains the movie takes on the same tone as one of those inexplicably popular surgery shows on television. It’s not scary exactly, just really unpleasant. This part of the movie should earn the film a “3G” rating for gross, gooey and gory.
Turistas is a movie about senseless cruelty that mistakes gross for scary but will it hurt Brazilian tourism? You never know. Sometimes just spelling the name right is enough. A case in point, recently the country of Kazakhstan decided that Borat’s representation of them as racist and incestuous was OK because at least now people know about the country. “[Borat] has managed to spark an immense interest of the whole world in Kazakhstan,” said Kazakh novelist Sapabek Asip-uly, “something our authorities could not do during the years of independence.”