The Ruins (2008)

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7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Creepy gorefest

Story and visuals are questionable

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Ruins

Studio:  DreamWorks Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  April 4, 2008

MPAA Rating:   R

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Yep, no way anyone could ever find this ruin that stand out like a sore thumb

A spring break trip to Mexico leads to horror for four teens named Jeff (Jonathan Tucker), Amy (Jena Malone), Eric (Shawn Ashmore), and Stacy (Laura Ramsey) when they meet up with a tourist named Mathias (Joe Anderson) who is looking for his missing brother.  Travelling to a remote Mayan ruin, they find themselves trapped in the ruins by a tribe who is bent on killing them if they leave.  Surviving the night might be the only goal for the teens…but the discovery of the real horror of the ruins could be worse.

Directed by Carter Smith, The Ruins adapts the 2006 novel by Scott Smith.  The movie received rather mixed reviews and the DVD release presented an alternate unrated version of the film.

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Did those plants just try to eat me?

I read Scott Smith’s book The Ruins before the movie came out so I knew what to expect.  The Ruins came out in the height of the gore film movement and reminds me most of Cabin Fever…It is one of those horror films with no hope for the characters and that isn’t always my favorite type of horror film.

The story for The Ruins is incredibly brutal.  The horror is one of those unescapable dread moment that hangs over the whole story.  You know this isn’t going to go well and you know that Malone should have stayed at the hotel…it just doesn’t turn out that way.  It is one of those “turn back now!” type of movies.

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Nothing to liven up a movie than a rotten leg amputation

The idea of the killer plants is a unique one, but doesn’t entirely make sense.  First, the ruins seem pretty accessible and everyone in town seems to know them.  In a resort town, you’d think wind of a weird ruin where people over the years have disappeared would take notice.  It also isn’t like the ruins are the most unnoticeable thing in the area.  The area is surrounded (to prevent the vines from escaping and even a plane flying over could see them…not to mention now Google Maps is out, everyone would have some killer vines.  You’d think that the natives would maybe find enough English to build a sign or just say “hey, you go up there, we’ll kill you” since it doesn’t appear to be a sacrifice situation.

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Next year, I’m going to Disney World

The cast of the movie is quite strong and it has to be since most of the horror comes from acting and not a monster.  Jena Malone was a bit of a strange choice as the lead since she often plays the geeky girl but she works well here along with the rest of the cast.

Visually the movie is so-so.  It is hard to make vines look scary, but I do like some of the atmosphere built along with the “talking” flowers.  It seems like they should have taken fire to the vines and ruins or something if they were that intent on getting off the location.

The Ruins is one of those movies that you kind say “really?” and question the smarts of the characters.  The movie is brutal and not for everyone.  If you want a gorefest, you should definitely consider it.  I could see this movie being a bit of a cult classic as the years go by if it sticks in the common collective.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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