In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Ruins

Five tourists vacationing in Mexico decide to check out some long forgotten Mayan ruins in the jungle. Once there though, they encounter something unimaginable.

Considering how much the previous advertising had made me believe it was The Descent, I was surprised to find it really wasn’t much like it at all. And perhaps more surprising still was the fact that wasn’t such a bad thing. I can’t comment on how well The Ruins has been adapted from the book (by Scott B. Smith who also penned the screenplay), but the film itself is a decent little venture.

The Ruins has an air of quality to it, mainly because the filmmakers actually took the time to seek out some talent for the five main characters. In addition to familiar faces Shawn Ashmore (X-Men) and Jena Malone (Donnie Darko), there is Jonathan Tucker and Joe Anderson, coming off his fantastic performance in Across The Universe. The only one of the five I hadn’t seen before was Laura Ramsey, who was solid in the role that was probably the most challenging out of all of them.

Even though when Jon Tucker says, “So, what do you guys think? Ancient Mayan temple off the beaten path” I was thinking, this is a TERRIBLE IDEA! I went along for the ride. In its defense though, one of them did mildly protest because of a hangover. I can tell you that if I was THAT illin', you wouldn’t be able to get me out of bed, much less to an archeological dig site in the jungle… but there again, my roaring twenties are long behind me. The gore work is great in The Ruins, which threw me off a bit at first. ‘So, this is what gets 14A* these days? How far we’ve come’ I thought to myself during all the field surgery sequences.

I think there are really only a few negatives I can point out here. The first is some bad CGI. Usually, I can let this stuff go, but there are certain vine shots that could have been done practically and that’s frustrating. It especially sticks out because the production values are so high in every other aspect. It’s a minor distraction though, much like some of the creepy crawlies in last year’s The Mist; not a deal breaker. There was also a plot element used a few times that seemed a little extraneous that I can only assume was culled from the source material. The ending, or lack of one, was a letdown, as well.

I think The Ruins is definitely worth visiting. It has a freshness that should be supported. I say kudos to DreamWorks for getting behind this, instead of another senseless remake or sequel.

*14A in the Canadian ratings system means persons under 14 must be accompanied by someone over 14.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know I'm like, oh....3 years late to the party here, but I clicked over here from your recent Top 50 Rebuttal post. I recently watched this, and wanted to see what you thought.

I have to say, I was not a fan of this film at all. There were various reasons why, but overall, I think it had to do with the fact that I had just read the book like...days before. And some of the changes made (by the author of the book, nonetheless!) just seemed like a travesty.

Well, thus ends my ravings.

My review (if you're interested)