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Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Ruins


The Ruins
2008
Drama (Horror/Thriller)
Rated: R
Running Time: 90 minutes
Starring: Jena Malone, Jonathon Tucker, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, Joe Anderson
Directed By: Carter Smith
Rating: 2.5 out of 10
Outline
A group of young adults get stranded at an archeological site and are stalked by an evil that roams the dark.


Review
I am not sure why I hated this movie and laud things like Cabin in the Woods, but this film bothered me. It is probably that this film was trying to be super serious on a topic that is hard to swallow. No doubt, there are some amazing evolutionary traits found in all sorts of species around the world, but what stalked these kids was appalling. The Ruins is the story of group of young people who travel to a remote area in Mexico. What starts off as a quaint site seeing tour, turns deadly as an evil stalks them from the shadows of the ruins.

A group of young adults on vacation, travelling to an area they are not supposed to be, and they get into some trouble? That never happens. After some liberal drinking and some gratuitous nudity, we find ourselves following the group as they check out an archaeological dig, deep in the jungle. What occurs after they get trapped in the ruins is not scary, and it is intensely stupid. It is not to say I don’t appreciate a good sci-fi/horror story, but wow this evil was poorly thought up. This film is not clever at all and the characters are not compelling. What should be a perfect venue for plenty of scares, breaks down into a film of amateurish dissection and make shift medical operations. That is because in a shocking twist, one of the characters is a medical student. So of course when one of the group gets injured, the quasi doctor is there to operate and save the day. So the film prides itself on graphic scenes of surgical cutting and the resulting blood, and little else. Seeing people being cut open and operated on is a hard watch and really is a cheap scare tactic. So the group battles the unknown terror, hunger, thirst, and the unrelenting sun. The viewer just has to sit through a truly boring film as ridiculous noises mock them from all around.

The acting is not the worst but the characters are. Their terrible dialogue and relationship squabbling seems out of place while their lives are in danger. So we sit and wait for one rational thought, but none are forthcoming. What we are stuck with is characters whining about other characters faithfulness, and comments of not wanting to be there, and it just grates on the viewer. Just a heads up for all you people out there, if you are ever caught in a life or death situation, and you catch a glimpse of something lurking in the dark, maybe you shouldn’t sleep right next to it. Important tips like this will keep you alive.

So the film plays itself out, with the viewer not caring if the characters escape or die. There are so many inconsistencies with this film as well. The water that should last for one day lasts for way longer than that. The characters never really catch on that anything is wrong, even though there are clear signs that people have been here quite recently and have subsequently disappeared. The local Mexican natives stalk the area with a tireless abandon, never really explaining the reason of why they are there in the first place. There are many other problems, but I am just naming a few. Of course when the film isn’t being wearisome, there is lots of blood. Also if you haven’t forgotten, there are a multitude of gaping wounds that expose bone, muscle, and sinew. It is if the director knew the monster in this film was too far of a stretch, so he over compensated with gross visuals. When the end to this film does come around, you will feel apathetic towards the entire ordeal.

Director Carter Smith relies too heavily on blood and not enough on ingenuity. The film goes long stretches without seeing the evil in the ruins, and when it does show up, you understand why it doesn’t appear more often. The casting was all right but the film is just drawn out, as the small location atop the ruins is not an area indicative of fear. No cell phone signals, poor character decisions, unexplained characters, and shoddy equipment are all hard to ignore. When the movie is this bad, you notice the clich├ęs more. This film is not frightening, it is not fun, and Smith needed to work on a bunch of things to make this a proper horror film.

I cannot recommend this film as ultimately the unknown presence in the ruins is laughable.

T Factor + If you like lots of blood and gore in your horror movies then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like sci-fi type horror then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Mist, Turistas.   

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