The Ruins is another exotic Latin American “holiday from hell” horror movie following a familiar formula. So, you have a couple of young and crazy kids looking for a good time when they accidentally stumble upon something. Something wicked, dangerous, and deadly. Not to spoil your exotic horror movie night, I will skip all the things our college students find on these trips. Stay with us ’till the end for the complete list of these movies. All I have to say about this one is that while the idea is not new, it certainly feels like it. The main “villain” of this movie was oftentimes seen as a supporting villain in other horror movies. So, it’s nice to see it finally in a lead role. I think the first time I’ve seen something like this was The Evil Dead.
Right away I must tell you that The Ruins does not follow the formula to the letter. Yes, the first half-hour is very generic and familiar but as soon as we get to the ruins, things change. From this point on, the movie takes on a different and much more foreboding dimension. The focus is not on the mysterious threat, exotic setting, or the very real danger surrounding them but on the characters themselves. This, coupled with a couple of very gnarly scenes, makes the movie a bit difficult to watch as we’re basically watching people suffer.
I kind of wish they actually stayed with the proven formula and added a bit of exploration to the mix. Something to make things a bit more dynamic. I mean, they could have at least tried venturing further into the pyramid. And I know that this is explained but I just can’t help but feel those Indiana Jones vibes here.
Two young couples are having a time of their life in Mexico. Drinking and chilling by the pool, they missed out on all the tourist attractions. So, when their new German friend suggests they visit his brother who’s currently working on an archeological site, they all agree. After a bit of wandering, they eventually find the site but it seems abandoned. And this is where their troubles begin.
Based on a novel of the same name, The Ruins features pretty good dialogue and decision-making for this type of movie. I mean, we’re usually watching these college students stumbling to their deaths without a rational thought in their head. Here, things are a bit different complete with reflection and all the stages of grief. The exotic setting this time doesn’t have the same air of mystery and possibilities but of dread and danger. Our gang would gladly teleport to the concrete jungle right away, I’ll you that. In that sense, the movie reminded me of Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies like The Ruins check out Turistas, The Green Inferno, La Cueva and Borderland. Out of these four horror movies, Turistas is the most similar. And if you’re up for a bit more commercial features take a look at And Soon the Darkness and A Perfect Getaway. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and The Shallows. Enjoy.
Director: Carter Smith
Writer: Scott B. Smith
Cast: Shawn Ashmore, Jena Malone, Jonathan Tucker, Laura Ramsey, Joe Anderson, Sergio Calderón
Fun Facts: And while the movie is set in Mexico, the filming took place in Australia. In Australia during winter. So, as soon as the scene was complete actors would be given warm blankets and other clothes.