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  Paradise Lost The Party's Over
Year: 2006
Director: John Stockwell
Stars: Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde, Desmond Askew, Beau Garrett, Max Brown, Agles Steib, Miguel Lunardi, Jorgé So, Cristiani Aparecida, Lucy Ramos, Andréa Leal, Diego Santiago, Marcão, Miguelito Acosta, Jorge Neves, Julia Dykstra
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: A group of tourists are travelling on this bus through Brazil, and Alex (Josh Duhamel) is grumbling about the reckless driving and the fact that they should have taken the plane. "They" being his younger sister Bea (Olivia Wilde), who he insisted on accompanying, and her best friend Amy (Beau Garrett), who are set on having a good time regardless of the unfamiliar territory. However, Alex might well have had a point, as the driver quickly gets impatient with a scooter driver up ahead, and is so intent on overtaking that he manages to crash the bus...

We're back in the type of movie which sees a bunch of Westerners stuck out in the middle of nowhere and at risk of getting bumped off, and Paradise Lost, or Turistas as it was known originally, was neither the best of its kind nor the worst. It was one of those films directed by erstwhile actor John Stockwell which saw the main cast dressed for the beach for most of the running time, so every girl in this wears a bikini at some point, and for quite an extended period of time for that matter. These films were well known for their director's eye for the attractive location as much for the attractive actresses who populated them.

This was no exception, taking the picturesque sights of rural Brazil as its setting, and to its credit not only using them as backdrops for the cast to pose in front of but as a part of the plot. This starts after our collection of tourists are left stranded when their bus rolls over a cliff - no one is hurt, but they do lose their ride and are waiting by the roadside for another bus to happen along when someone suggests they go to the beach over there, as there's a bar and lovely scenery to enjoy while they pass the time. Basically, their need to have fun rules over their need to be sensible, and as is so often the case in these situations, that's where they go wrong and are plunged into an ordeal.

For the opening scenes, you're expecting something terrible to occur, and your patience will be rewarded. First, there's a bit of messing around as they all go for a swim, with Alex and the girls joined by Australian backpacker Pru (Melissa George) and two Brits, Finn (Desmond Askew) and Liam (Max Brown), then hit the bar for drinks - Finn even gets to have his wicked way with a dusky beauty, only to be dismayed when he discovers she is a prostitute, the first hint that this place is too good to be true. A few spiked drinks later, and they wake up with major headaches and no belongings, and we can begin our descent into hell, or the characters' descent at any rate, the film isn't that bad.

In fact, although it rarely aims for anything above the formulaic, this never slips into a dutiful trudge through some hackeneyed horror devices, as it has the courage of its convictions as far as putting their hapless gang through their problems goes. They end up in a village that has no way of contacting the authorities, but then one of the guys they had already met, Kiko (Agles Steib), offers a helping hand and a possible way out of this predicament. Being a seasoned cliché watcher, you'l know that what he offers is nothing of the sort, and what we actually have here is, if we're honest, a halfhearted revenge on the rich tourists for despoiling our land affair. That they wind up thanking the Brazilian people for their help in making the film during the end credits explains the change of heart in the final ten minutes, but until then there are some perfectly reasonable suspense sequences - the diving bit near the finale is especially nicely handled - and an air of professionalism that carries it through its admittedly slight premise. Music by Paul Haslinger.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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