Monday, August 12, 2019

The Ruins (2008)

For another movie about dumb white tourists misunderstanding and/or disrespecting native culture to their peril, The Ruins ain't so bad!

Two couples are on the last days of a holiday in Mexico when they're invited to trek to Mayan ruins "off the beaten path". As one might expect, terrible things happen until horrifying tragedy wipes out nearly the entire group. This apparently departs from the novel upon which the film was based, that culminated in everybody dying (which honestly, I would have preferred... though I suppose cosmically speaking this one is scarier).

Directed by Carter Smith and written (novel and screenplay) by Scott B. Smith, who also did the same for the story/film of A Simple Plan, this is short, sharp and competent horror. It's not a complicated tale but it keeps you interested and decently unfolds the dread over its 90mins.

I was also pleasantly surprised at an early assumption I'd made plot-wise being proven wrong. Guessing narrative twists and turns is an occupational hazard but it's nice to be fooled where possible!

Four Americans on a vacation don't just disappear!
− Jeff (Jonathan Tucker)

I suppose if I had one complaint, it was the clumsy handling of the introduction of "mimicking" early on. Would these kids use that phrasing? It seems to be done purely to put that word or action in the minds of the audience for later. But I really don't think it was necessary - in fact, it would have been roughly 5% more shocking coming out of absolutely nowhere.

"But Jo", I hear you ask, "does this film have gore?" And to that, I say yes, yes it certainly does. 

The Ruins gives realistic, skin-crawling moments of body horror. From broken bones, to open wounds and amputations, this one isn't for the squeamish in that respect.

At dead on 1hr30 The Ruins is worth the runtime for some genuinely uneasy and hopeless moments of peril and solid bloodiness. I had always assumed this movie was a sub-standard Turistas-type affair; a great concept but ultimately the makers balls it up in a variety of frustrating ways. This is not the case! I'm pleased I gave this one a chance (better late than never).

I watched on Tubi but I'm sure it's fairly easy to find other places, too.

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