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The Ruins
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The Ruins (2008)

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Plot Summary:
"In Cancún, four American friends opt to help a fellow tourist search for his missing brother, though they soon begin to realize they're heading toward danger."

Review by
Steven Davies
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Review Date: 14 October 2008 My Rating: out of 5


Let's get this out the way. For those not familiar with Scott B. Smith's popular novel of the same name 'The Ruins' deals with ancient evils, a tale of survival, terror and killer greenery. The only question is; is 'The Ruins' more 'The Happening' than 'The Day of the Triffids'?

Jena Malone ('Donnie Darko') and Laura Ramsey ('The Covenant') join Shawn Ashmore and Jonathan Tucker as the foursome forced into an unusual survival situation when the gang befriend a German named Mathias whilst holidaying in Mexico. They learn Mathias is heading along to join his brother on a dig at an ancient Mayan ruin and decide to tag along. But god damn would you believe it, they stumble off the beaten track and discover that the ancient ruins is nothing more than a feared hotspot for ancient evil and life sucking vines.

The overall concept of being trapped and alone in a foreign country where the locals don't speak the lingo and there's ubiquitous bloodshed is always cause for concern (see also 'Turistas' aka 'Paradise Lost') but when you toss in some crazed foliage there's an even ever-present seed of fear.

'The Ruins' isn't the first take on killer plants by no means, but appears to be the first that's linked to ancient curses and evil. This does give the film more body, yet doesn't attempt to explicate any reasoning as to why this is all occurring. But that's fair enough, sometimes no explanation can be an ickle more chilling.

Gore hounds will probably cream themselves over some of the effects on show, and notably all of the decent ones are proper prosthetic blood-laden effects you'll be relieved to know. There are touches of CGI where necessary and blended quite well into the surroundings; although when the girls find themselves faced with noisy, animated shrubbery within the cave I sadly wasn't overly terrified as I couldn't quite tear my mind away from similar scenes in 80's musical comedy/horror 'The Little Shop of Horrors'.

Not being familiar with the novel myself I'm unsure how much of the movie's ending is actually laid out in the book but I was somewhat frustrated and let down by the sudden ending. The last 15 minutes was a tad swift and seemed to cobble a lot of what could have been intense sequences together too rapidly. The open ended climax just spews potential of a direct-to-DVD sequel, which are sorrowfully becoming too common of late. Those money grabbing bastards (waves his fist in disgust).

'The Ruins' was enjoyable and gruesome and in due course may convince its opponents that it is borderline commendable. It has building blocks of horror cliché that you would expect to see in a situation like this. Could a movie such as this literally survive by ignoring them? But ultimately you knew endurance would only get the boys and girls so far. This of course leads to inevitable predictability and it becomes more of a how can they die as opposed to when.

Reviewer: David Ellis @horrorasylum
Location:Kentucky, USA
Review Date: 07 April 2008 My Rating: out of 5

When a group of students take a vacation to Mexico it turns in to a real nightmare, Jonathan Tucker (Jeff), who also played in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) did a fantastic job as medical school student that likes to have fun. Jeff and his girlfriend Amy (Jena Malone) alone with there friends Eric and Stacy meet a man named Mathias who knows of a ruin that nobody else knows of. Mathias talks the group in to coming with him to visit.

When I first herd of this film I was thinking it was going to be somewhat like The Descent (I loved that movie) but it was alot different. The feel of this film will creep you out the lighting, to the sound it’s nearly perfect, I looked over at my girlfriend during this movie and she was actually crying she was so scared. Also the movie was not too gory but its still one you mother doesn’t want too watch with you, well ok it puts Hostel to shame. I have been waiting for a movie like this for a long time now, I really enjoyed this movie.

To get straight to the point this movie was surprisingly very good, one of the best film over the past few years. This movie is definitly worth you few bucks at the local theater. This movie was not what I expected but I’m glad it wasn’t it was so much better that I had expected. I can’t wait for the DVD to it the streets I bet it will be loaded with extra feathers, you will definitly have a review of it when it hits.

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