The cunning double hit nature of this format is that while one gets undoubted pleasure from watching a certain archetypal young Yank traveler getting destazado, one also knows that many of them will be watching the movie and being terrified out of their horizon-expanding pre-college foreign trips. (Though the effect might have been diminished here by the casting of thirty-year-olds in the Gap year roles.)
Anyway, having stoked up just about every unpleasant stereotype surrounding the devilish dystopia down there, the mid section of this film seemed to break free of its influences and started to show some promise in terms of tension and comparatively unpredictable turns of plot.
But then up pops Beto Cuevas as the self-consciously Luciferian kingpin Santillán, looking appropriately enough, as if he's just stepped out of one of those corny 1990s Telehit videos.
This heralds the start of a disordered third act worthy of a James Lee Burke novel, and although here none of the bad guys mysteriously yet helpfully top each other, two of the principal villains are offed rather cheaply some time before the credits finally roll. But then this was all supposedly 'based on true events'...so, do you really want that passport?
Grade: B (-)