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The Ruins (2008)

The latest horror offering to challenge our views of modern horror.

Sliding along in the wake of Turistas AKA Paradise Lost, The Ruins teaches us the dangers of travelling in unknown locations, and most importantly treating ancient temples and customs with respect.

While on holiday in Mexico five friends enjoy some downtime by their hotel swimming pool where they encounter the kindly Mathias (Joe Anderson). He tells the five travellers about his intentions to travel to an ancient temple the following day to meet with his brother. After some debate the five Americans decide to follow Mathias on his adventure being as it is their final days of their holiday, and figure that this would be an ideal way to finish off their holiday.

No sooner have our travellers arrived at the ancient temple than they are surrounded by an angry looking mob. Trying to cool the situation down due to the misunderstandings of no knowledge of each other’s language Dimitri (Dimitri Baveas) the groups self appointed leader steps forward to make amends. His five travellers look on as he is cruelly murdered by the mob, causing them to head for the temple. Surrounded at the base of the ancient ruins by a fifty strong army the travellers, the group try to debate their escape, but what lies in and on the temple is far worse than the terror below.

The trailer for the Ruins gives a viewer little inspiration to begin watching this movie, looking rather bland and similar to a lot of other movies, however it fails to illustrate the complexities of the plot and what appeared to be familiar horror fare turned out to deliver well beyond believable expectation, and for a movie that comes from Hollywood’s Dreamworks studio, it’s surprisingly dark.

The Ruins wastes no time getting straight to the heart of the action, having introduced the characters and their foibles, you are then rushed to the ancient ruins; where rather like fireworks you are given a quick succession of shocks. Considering the limited amount of space the cast have to manoeuvre around and the limited cast, there is an awful lot to The Ruins, more than you could ever expect in fact. Initially climbing the ruins filled with hope, the travellers are presented with a series of horrors that cause their hopes to slowly become diminished.

The big horror of the movie is the terrible vines that cover the ruins, and nothing is being ruined by this disclosure. Seemingly having a life of their own the vines can move, communicate, and most importantly devour our cast in a matter of seconds. You could call this horror a very tongue in cheek one, let’s face it vines that can communicate and kill? It sounds suspiciously like the plot for a nasty 60’s movie or TV series. But this is nothing to be laughed at, the vines are incredibly dangerous, and sinister; completely relentless in their actions and methods of seducing their prey these are the stuff of nightmares.

The special effects are great, and for a horror movie fan this will not fail to entertain with both reasonable scares and gross out horror this is the sort of thing a horror movie fan loves to see. The Ruins does echo back to the very dark horror movie output of the 1970’s where literally anything goes, there is lots of mutilation and limb removal that will have you turning away but desperately wanting to watch.

The cast perform well, Black Donnellys star Jonathan Tucker heads up the cast as medical student Jeff, while Jena Malone, and Shawn Ashmore add great support. The heart of the movie goes out to Laura Ramsey as Stacy a character who you are feeling for from the movies offset, she undergoes the greatest transformation of the movie, and some of her scenes will have you on the edge of your seat.

What works so well about The Ruins is the uncharted feel of the movie, yes we have seen similar offerings but this really is something genuinely different. Rather like Paradise Lost, Hostel, The Mist and Saw this movie opens up some new doors for horror and focuses as much on the psychological aspects of horror as it does the physical and graphic. It movies along at a rate of knots, one minute calm the next minute intense, while keeping the character development and emotion sharp. It’s movies like this that can give lethargic horror movie fans a little more hope for the future, this is hardly what you would consider normal or run of the mill.

The Ruins is in UK cinemas now.

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1 Comment
  1. Yashim- sparkz
    Posted July 5, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Wow. It’s a good thing there ain’t no ancient ruined temples in close to where I live. Nice one.

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