Alicia (Temple) is visiting cousin Sarah (Browning) in Santiago, but when she gets there they decide to take a trip south for a weekend. The situation is further complicated when Sarah must return to the city midway through the journey in order to complete a college exam. Leaving Alicia with strangers Brink (Cera), Barbara (Moreno) and Augustine (Silva) only serve to enhance her paranoia as she starts to feel excluded and her insomnia brings on some very strange behaviour. Without Sarah present Alicia starts to feel more excluded by the group as they fail to speak English around her and generally take the piss out of her until she starts to lose her mind. Is it them or is it her? Only hypnotism and muscle relaxant pills will help to answer that question. Not.
First things first, Michael Cera is appalling in this; he’s more punchable than he normally is which is really saying something. He is unbelievably bad and although his character is supposed to be a dick it’s so poorly executed you will be genuinely shocked. Juno Temple doesn’t exactly cover herself in glory either, as she is totally non-believable when she starts to fall apart. The support cast are not memorable in any way so it’s pointless to bother with them.
The story itself doesn’t really help; apparently it’s based on an urban legend of an American girl who went bananas in a Brazilian hostel. In the case of an urban legend, unexplained behaviour is a plausible mystery, but that does not work on film. There has to be a reason for the absurdity that unfolds, otherwise the previous 90 minutes of build up are an absolute waste of everyone’s time. There is also the unexplained thread about cousin Sarah’s return to Santiago that is merely present to kick off Alicia’s mental collapse, and just when you think the whole mess can’t get any worse there is some witch doctor action thrown in to really confuse you.
The actors involved in this mess do not enhance the delivery of the crappy script, but even if they were decent it wouldn’t save it from itself. Whatever DIY job you’ve been postponing for the last month is a much better way to spend your time than going to see this. Avoid