Paradise Lost (2006)

Paradise Lost (2006)

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A group of young travellers are marooned in a remote Brazilian beach town when their coach is involved in a crash. After a wild night of partying leaves them without their belongings, a local teenager, Kiko, tells them that he will take them to his uncle’s house in the jungle so that they can regroup and get in touch with the authorities. It is only when they arrive at the house that the group realise the intentions of Kiko and his uncle all along – they are to be harvested so that their organs can be sold on the black market.


The torture porn or ‘gorenography’ fad of horror has quickly outstayed its welcome, if it ever had one originally. Horror films are no longer about generating tension, creating atmosphere and truly scaring people, they are simply about showing as much gore and nastiness as possible! I could pinpoint the likes of Hostel and Saw for bringing the sheer unpleasant nature of torture, suffering and splatter to the mainstream but it was already creeping in before hand. Now what we get is that pretty much every mainstream horror (that doesn’t involve ghosts or supernatural events) has gone down the route of blood, torture, suffering, pain, sickness and perversion. Directors are showing what was always suggested in these films – like people having body parts ripped off, their Achilles tendons being sliced off or being raped by mutants for the sake of entertainment. As a fan, there is only so much you can take before it just gets repetitive. After a while, it’s not a case of seeing whether the next horror film can out-do the last one in the nastiness stakes but seeing how far it will take it. Paradise Lost comes along at precisely the wrong moment for me to be able to look at it in anything other than being a tepid cash-in on the current fad.

At least it’s short and to the point and doesn’t try and over stay its welcome. It knows its characters are never going to get past its audience thinking “she’s fit” or “he’s buff” so they hired young actors to fit the bills of the cardboard cut outs on display. That’s all I’m going to say about the cast because they’re not worth mentioning anymore. The film seemingly knows no one is watching it to study screenwriting or understand the English language. But at least make a damn effort to give a bit of life to the dialogue. You could cut out the opening half an hour from here and paste it into pretty much any recent horror film and it wouldn’t be too far off. A group of good-looking teenagers begin drinking, drugging up and shagging everything in sight before being dumped into a situation they don’t understand with a maniac after them. They do the most stupid things, are given ridiculous situations to deal with that would never happen in real life and meet some of the most blatant local stereotypes going.

It’s the turn of some Brazilians to get the ‘poor backwards third world country’ tag here. Public transport not even fit for scrap metal (look at that bus!). Horny bikini-clad Samba honeys willing to put out for any strangers. And villages full of mud and disease in the middle of the jungle. Come on guys, at least keep it real. After all that happens to the main characters in the first twenty minutes, you would think they least would want to do is follow some Brazilian guy they just met into the jungle to crash at his uncle’s house whilst they sort out their passport situation. Ever heard of a consulate or embassy? Might I also add that by this point you’ve totally forgotten that this is supposed to be a horror film. There has been absolutely nothing to class it as horror so far, more like teenage drama. It’s got the pace of a sloth and nothing interesting has happened.

Things do pick up a little bit when the big reveal hits and the group realise that they’re in trouble but it’s a little too late to save the film. The big payoff for gore fans is supposed to be the scene where one unlucky teenager has her internal organs removed one at a time. But you know, after seeing numerous hospital and doctor programmes on TV, this scene did little to gross me out. And the most stupid thing is that we know what the villain wants after the first ten minutes courtesy of a scene with one of his minions discussing his plans. So all along we know that he wants to harvest the travellers for their organs. Wouldn’t it have been so much more interesting if we didn’t know what he wanted until he started operating? Now that would have had more impact. Instead you spend most of the film bracing yourself for the eventual harvesting scene and it’s absolutely crap and has no shock value whatsoever. It’s not even that bloody and the front cover with it’s splattering of blood would have you believe that this is a gore-fest. There’s hardly a scare to be had throughout the rest of the film so it really beats me as to what this film is trying to be? A thriller with horror elements or a horror with no horror elements?


Paradise Lost targets its audience pretty well with the attractive cast, nudity and potential for nasty shenanigans so dumb teenagers who have never seen a horror film may love it. But for me, it’s simply a stale leftover from Hostel reworked into a full blown feature film. This is one paradise you would want to remain lost forever.





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