Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: The Ruins

Synopsis: A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins.

Review: I'll admit right upfront, I've never read the book that "The Ruins" is based from. So, I can't really comment on how true the movie is to the original story. What I can say, though, is that this movie did nothing to make me want to seek out the book it is based on.

I really wanted to like this movie. I've been so hoping for a good rated R horror movie for some time. All these remakes and torture films masking as horror, have really had me thinking maybe no one knows how to make a new and original horror movie anymore. I was praying "The Ruins" would change that feeling for me, but it has only intensified it.

The film starts off well enough, with a couple of young college couples vacationing in Mexico, when they are given the opportunity to check out some "off the tour guide" ruins, before they have to leave. The first 30-40 minutes of the film is pretty solid stuff. You even come to like the characters a little. Once they reach the ruins, though, the movie starts to lose it. It never is explained exactly where these vines came from, or what the deal with them is. We come to see the nearby villagers are trying to keep them from spreading, but we don't know how or why. The whole threat the vines pose really isn't given any kind of explanation, which only leads to unsatisfying questions that don't get answers.

There are a few really gory moments in the film, but most of it happens within the last third of the film. And by this point, you really just don't know what to make of anything that you care a whole lot about it. It just feels like gore for the sake of it.

The only truly "jump from your seat" moment is when the girls first come to learn of the danger the vines represent, otherwise there is little in the way of suspense in the movie. In fact, the vines seem to do less damage to these tourists, than they end up doing to themselves. So they don't seem to pose much of a threat, after all. And when the lone survivor escapes, you are left wondering what this means for the rest of the world, since keeping the vines contained was made into such an important point in the film. And the ending of the film? Total rubbish, which is all I have to say about that.

"The Ruins" starts off like a classic horror film from the late 70's and early 80's, but soon degenerates into little more than a plodding and uninteresting film, that relies on some torturous moments of gore to try to shock you awake again. It almost feel disingenuous to call it a horror film, since the only thing to provide you with horror, is the realization that you aren't going to get the those 91 minutes of your life back. If there was a moral to this movie, I guess it would be to stick to the tourist traps, when you are in a strange country. But I'd impart the additional moral to stick to renting a good horror movie, over viewing this poorly done effort.

Rating: 1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

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