Vacation from hell isn't for the faint of stomach.
  • Review Date: March 26, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Tourists are reckless and arrogant and drink, do drugs, and engage in sexual activity with virtual strangers; psycho-villain doctor is delusional and cruel; impoverished natives are vengeful and greedy. Victims are all priveleged white travelers; bad guys are dark-skinned natives.


Lots of bloody violence in close-up, including a lengthy surgery scene (liver and kidneys removed from girl, with explicit cutting and slopping); weapons include machete, metal hook, rocks, guns, jackknife; film opens on close-up of a girl's eyes and bloody surgical instruments as she pleads for her life, then screams (fade to credits); bus falls off a mountainside, leaving passengers without transportation; rock thrown at young thief makes his head bleed (and he cries); character hits head on rock in water (wound bleeds and appears in gross-out close-ups, including when Finn staples it, causing great pain/yelling); girl's fall off a cliff is shown in graphic detail (sound and image); menacing sequence as tourists explore a house (dark corners, suspenseful music); scary sequence in caves, as tourists swim to escape brute (dark, fragmented images); girl fights man by clawing and biting (bloody teeth); explicit effects of shooting (chest, head).


Girls' breasts are exposed while they're swimming and during organ harvesting surgery; girls appear repeatedly in thongs, bikinis, and sheer or net garments; brief kissing while characrters are plainly drunk/high; post-sex dialogue demonstrates the guy's surprise when the woman turns out to be a prostitute (she takes money from his wallet); girl in the shower (shoulders up); reference to sex with "girls" in Cambodia; reference to sex "up the ass."


Frequent uses of "f--k" (35+), as well as other language ("s--t," "ass," "lily-white asses," "Christ," "hell"); disparaging uses of "gringo" and "worthless Indian."


Someone orders a Coke.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette smoking, beer and hard liquor-drinking (scotch), pot-smoking; prescription bottles stolen from previous victims (e.g., codeine); hash; drugs that knock out victim/tourists; blurry point-of-view shots show effects of drugging.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this torturous (literally and figuratively) horror movie is absolutely not for kids. It's full of gross-out violence -- the sort characterized by yucky wounds and bloody body parts. Violent acts include a stick in the eye, a hook in a foot, shooting, knifing, and surgery (depicted here as sadistic). The insidious motive for the murders is organ harvesting, described in some detail as a problem of class/nation inequities and depicted brutally. Characters engage in reckless sexual pursuits, though the one couple who actually have sex (off camera) use a condom. Characters drink, smoke cigarettes and pot, and are drugged by murderous villains. Language is pretty much incessant, including repetitive uses of "f--k."

What's the story?

In John Stockwell's torture-as-horror flick, a bus filled with American, British, and Australian tourists plunges off a mountain road in Brazil. Escaping with only some scattered luggage, they decide to hang out with youthful, energetic locals who appear eager to party, have sex, and learn English. It's not long before the tourists -- including Alex (Josh Duhamel), his sister Bea (Olivia Wilde), and his potential romantic interest Pru (Melissa George), Finn (Desmond Askew), and Liam (Max Brown) are drugged, robbed, and apparently incapable of calling home or American Express for help, and so they end up dependent on those same locals for help. Of these, Kiko (Agles Steib) appears the most sincere: He offers the group his uncle's swank house atop a jungly mountain. Little do they know, but that very uncle, psychopathic Dr. Zamora (Miguel Lunardi), intends to harvest their organs.

Is it any good?


While it's short on clever scares and long on bloody excess (machetes and scalpels being implements of choice), Turistas also lurches between images that are breathtakingly beautiful (think Blue Lagoon) and literally hard to see, as when a tattooed thug chases victims through dark underground caverns, swimming for long minutes underwater.

The fact that the doctor's own viciously verbalized racism leads directly to his downfall doesn't exactly make up for the film's demonizing of dark-skinned characters throughout. It's also helpful and silly that he explains his thinking on the issue while digging into a pretty girl's torso for her liver and kidneys (essentially, he's angry at American imperialism and arrogance and wants to see a Yankee heart beating in the chest of an ailing Brazilian child). His villainy is underscored repeatedly: He puts a kabob stick through a follower's eye, murders his minions when they misbehave, and keeps passports of past victims, for no fathomable reason except to grant the newest ones the chance to discover them and be suddenly afraid.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the carelessness of the privileged tourists, whose callous treatment of non-English-speaking people and ignorance of local customs marks them as somehow "deserving" of punishment. Do you think this a realistic portrayal of how some travelers act? What point is the movie trying to make beneath all of the bloodshed? What attitude should you take when visiting other countries and cultures?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 30, 2006
DVD release date:March 27, 2007
Cast:Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde
Director:John Stockwell
Studio:Fox Atomic
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong graphic violence and disturbing content, sexuality, nudity, drug use and language.

This review of Turistas was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bytommi April 9, 2008

pretty good-expected more

Teen, 14 years old Written byfinalfear45 April 9, 2008

I love it !

Is exotic, tence, gory, and really cool movie not for kids under age is too mature but is the best horror/thriller of the winter not a waste of time.
Teen, 13 years old Written byapmn98 May 19, 2012

This isn't a movie, that's a shame!!!

Surely not for kids, that is the most unecessary, gory and unrealistic movie I've ever seen !!! Come on, I'm Brazilian and I've felt bad that someone could really think something like that about us, AND THEN MAKE A FRICKIN' MOVIE 'BOUT IT !!! It's time to discuss with your children that you can't belive in everything you see on TV. It would be good if you taught your kids to be more tolerant with people from the less developed countries too, so we can have a better future where movies like that won't exist. Sorry about the spelling mistakes, I hope I could help you ;P
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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