Ruins, The

The first thirty minutes of The Ruins opens like every other horror movie you've seen. The seemingly faceless kill of a character who's only purpose is to start you out with a bang. With one too many cuts and after a minute too long we finally launch into yet another tier of stereotypical horror. Two boys and two girls partying on the beach meet up a ridiculously random German tourist whose brother went missing after hooking up with an archeologist chic. You know...that old chestnut.

Now the young partiers have decided on the last day of a Mexican vacation to visit this secret hidden temple in search of our German friend's brother. Sucks right? Yep...At this point in the movie I am all yawns and sighs wondering when this genre is going to learn that we are tired of the horror titties and tequila.

Thankfully, once the young team finds the temple and the guardians emerge from the bush my excitement and curiousity arouses. Slowly but surely my toosh inches closer and closer to the edge of my seat. Finding the ruins is a bench mark moment in me enjoying the film.

The premise was probably the films most solid aspect. Deep jungle natives are trying to maintain a hidden evil within their country. With Mayan roots(no pun intended) and an unknown history, these guardians salt the soil daily containing the evil that grows from out of the ruins. As with our main characters anyone who ventures too close will then forever stay, never to spread the infectious evil from its cursed ground.

Some of the intensely gore driven scenes had me very uncomfortable. Broken backs, inner squirming roots, knife digs into the flesh, arrow wounds, and even self mutilation. It was intense.

Many reviews hold that the ending is this films biggest letdown. In discussing the end I will remind you that I thought the beginning was the weak link While the end could have been more satisfying it was far from frustrating or empty.

I love it when a film never tells you the history or the why of something. We travel and survive with as much as the characters experience. No cheesy hieroglyphic readings or ancient Indian campfire explanations. We are allowed to make our own assumptions and conclusions about where this evil came from much less what it even is. My only sigh was with that little cell phone flower deal. For those who have seen the movie you know what I'm talking about. Imitating flowers?....eh...but fortunately there were times towards the end where it added another level of intensity.

Another surprise was the characters. Texas Chainsaw's Jonathan Tucker did a great job playing the leader of this little outfit. I guess I was most impressed with him playing the complete opposite role that he was in Texas. Before he was the snibbly glasses pusher and now he was the "take action let me dig into your back" kinda guy. All the other not so bright stars were far from terrible if not good in there little moments. We had Jena Malone (Donnie Darko), Shawn Ashmore (X-Men trilogy), and Joe Anderson (Across the Universe).

I could go on and on about this movie but I don't want to ruin (no pun intended) anything. I guess I am just a sucher for the killer creatureish movies.The Ruins by far is groundbreaking or even amazing, but I definitely enjoyed the ride.

Reviewed by: shea
38 Comment(s)
Adam said...
I didn't enjoy the ride... at all. The concept was cool, but completely misused. Instead of exploring the villagers or what the ruins might actually contain, we had to sit through the babysitter's club sittin on top of the thing cryin the whole movie.

I can't believe you liked this as much as you did, being as it was a cheap Descent knock-off that completely messed up everything the Descent did so well.

I've seen better movies on Lifetime
Andy said...
Oh Lord! The whole thangs a vine!
Shea said...
Thats fine that you didnt like the movie but I definitely enjoyed it. It was not a Descent knock off but definitely in the vein.

You wanted to know more about the villagers and what it might contain? No way...I think that would have ruined it. I wanted to make my own conclusions about the film. I enjoyed them crying on top man...that was intense. Did you not see them cut that guys leg off with A STONE!!!!

I think if you would have seen this movie with me you would have been on the same rollercoaster I was.

Again with The Descent...How can you even compare the two except maybe the mood. Gollums in a cave and vines on a temple? Nope...i dont see it.

Lifetime? Tsk tsk.

I am not asking you to like it...I am just here to tell you that I did...well 2.5% of it at least.
Paul said...
I haven't seen this, but if you're saying it's not as good as the Descent...I might shoot myself in the face if I ever do.
Shea said...
Yeah...its not as good as The Descent.

I would never recommend this to you Paul.

You know how I get with creatures and myths and all those things lurking deep within. I have have special fancy for them...this movie appealed to that.
Paul said...
You connote that I do not like creatures and myths and things lurking deep within? Not at all, just don't like lame ones.

Descent monsters = I Am Legend monsters
Shea said...
oh right... did I just have to remind you that you even saw The Descent?...get out of here...go watch Master and Commander and stay on that end of the world.
Paul said...
Who introduced you to The Thing, who got you to appreciate Alien 3 despite its shortcomings?

Do not speak to me as if I am some pretentious wannabe movie buff who's favorite movie is Fast and the Furious. Do not be upset because your monsters resemble iVampire. Love your movie Shea, I'm glad that you love it, but I just have a different opinion.

You introduced me to Dog Soldiers, which I love and am grateful for. Alas that we will not always see eye to eye, but for every Descent there is a Gladiator, a Dog Soldiers, a Summer of Sam.
Andy said...
I Am Legend monsters? That is insane. How can you say the albino devil bat creatures from The Descent are the same as the CG big-headed zombie vampires from I Am Legend. The Descent creatures were acting on base instinct of hunting prey. The I Am Legend monsters were more intelligent...setting traps. There was more of a relationship between Neville and the vampires. That is a poor comparison you connoted.

As for the Ruins. It was pretty much lameness interrupted by bursts of intense grossness, creepiness and pain infliction....which Oh Lord! I enjoyed. I was never really scared or tense but it had some fun moments.
Shea said...
I agree with most things said here...except James W Gray 111 gets the nod for introducing me to the The Thing years B. P.

Paul said...
Hahahah, Andy, did you just stand up for the Descent monsters? Seems to me both sets of monsters primarily hunted on instinct, and certainly instinct isn't a distinguishing factor among movie monsters.

I just got a great visual of you giving that as a closing argument in a federal court case, while your client, the "albino devil bat creature" is gnawing on your arm, and the prosecution (iVampire) is hissing in your ear.
Shea said...
Paul...that is the most amazing comment you have ever left....HA HA... wow...this court will now take a recess until another new face decides to comment.
I read the book last year and was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. However, like most books to film, I anticipated that this would disappoint me. Not sure if I'll end up seeing it or not. I think it's funny that in the movie, it's an actual ruined tenple whereas in the book its a hill with a mine dug into it....the title of the book made no sense. Great review Shea. It might be worth seeing...maybe.
Andy said...
I would like to call the 28 Days Later zombie to the stand. With your logic you would have to say he (the 28 Days later zombie) is just like iVampire and the Descent devil bats...which isn't true either. Yes they all run around killing/eating people, but their motivations are different. With I Am Legend it was more personal. Spend a little less time coming up with fancy metaphors and more time looking below the surface of what you see on the screen.
Shea said...
Karen...

I guess it was just a hill with a hole in it. I say temple because it stair steps like something Mayan...it sounds similar to what you describe though. I think you should see it especially since you read the book.
Paul said...
They sure look strikingly similar. I call into evidence DNA samples that confirm the devil bats and iVampires share a common ancestor.
Shea said...
Both of you douche bags take this to the matresses. There are no creatures like this on The Ruins and this is The Ruins post. Get out...i am trying to have a decent conversation with Karen about the book to movie adaptation and you are cluttering my SPACE.
Paul said...
And let the record state, the prosecution has made it clear that instinct alone does not distinguish a movie monster from another. In no way do we support the defense's ridiculous accusation that we in some way feel that zombies and vampires are the same. However, pale, pointy-eared, light-avoiding, cannibalistic monsters is another story.
Andy said...
Ha....Objection. Your original statement was "Descent monsters = I Am Legend monsters" That is different than saying they share some qualities. I think we can all agree that they are somewhat similar, but also are their own creatures.

To get back on topic....
Ruins flowers = Little Shop of Horrors Plant
Paul said...
Are not all zombies, zombies? If you prick them, do they not eat your brains out? Sure some are fast, some are slow. Some vampires dress up like 16th century aristocrats, and others walk around naked in the dark with some kind of skin disease. Are the two breeds in question exactly the same? No, but they're like a crocodile and an alligator, a PS3 and a 2nd mortgage, a Republican and John McCain, different, and yet the same. I imagine that if an iVampire were running for a district office, they would have the support of the devil-bats.

...ridiculous enough for everyone? Good.
Shea said...
Amazingly written sir Paul. But you are thinking two broad... all these things are completely different.

Fast Zombies make an entirely different movie than slow zombies. ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

The only thing a Vampire has in common is that they were once dead and can spread.

The Descent beasts were never dead, are blind, and can climb like lizards.

The Descent= Gollum....are yoy saying Gollum is a Zombie?

...this is ridiculous and I want it to stop but I cant stop replying.
Paul said...
I never said any vampire was a zombie, so why would I say descent = gollum = zombie? Never said decesnt beasts were dead, neither were iVampires.

My point is that in the family tree that is movie monsters, under the genus of Vampire, there are several species. Devil-Bats and iVampires are very closely related, that's all. Devil-bats have just been around for centuries and have been training their bouldering skills, hence their lizard-like abilities.

Zombies are far simpler...slow/fast. Different movies for sure, but still the same guys, just some with higher physical prowess.
Shea said...
Well of course their similiar. We are wintnessing the evolution of creatures in cinema. Everything builds upon each others ideas.

Vampires were the first...I am Legend inspired George to make his own version with Night and so on and so forth.

A mix of zombies, gollum, and native american legends inspired Descent...

everything inspires...

I am glad we agree... now to the vine monster of the Ruins.
Nick said...
Yeah, haven't seen it yet... but just wanted to leave a couple comments.

Jonathan Tucker can do leadership roles pretty well. He does the asshole panicky leader in Hostage with Bruce Willis and Ben Foster. He does calm, controlled, and intelligent leader in the short-lived TV series The Black Donnelleys.

Oh, and you still really need to see 'Feast', especially now that I know you don't like explanations about where things come from :P . It's horror/comedy at its second best (first best being Shaun of the Dead).
Shea said...
Nick man...I needed you to back me on this one. I was waiting with refresh going crazy to see what you thought. I thought you might dig this movie and help me battle off these hatin foos...

Feast? I dont know man. I know what it is. I dont do well with Comedy Horror minus Shaun of course. I like Army of Darkness but none of the others. I hated Black Sheep. Feast isnt coming into the queue.

Paul...

Talk about relations of beasts and The Descent. Go check out my post for the movie Creep. That creature was the spitting image. Instead of a cave a sewer. Check it.
Oh dear...look what's happened.
Nick said...
Shea: lol, sorry... I didn't really care about seeing The Ruins in theater. Normally it would be my cup of tea, but even the trailers, to me, made it seem like it was gonna suck pretty bad. It kinda reminded me of Cabin Fever meets The Descent... neither of which do I really care for. But I'll check it out eventually and get back to you :P .

As for Feast... you don't know what you're missing! It's one of my favorite movies, and it's done amazingly well. It's not a cheesy movie like the others you mentioned (in other words, it's not B-horror). But it's more like Shaun, where it both makes fun of and pays homage to the horror genre. And it sets up all of these horror cliches, and then breaks every single one of them. Nothing happens the way you'd expect it to. Just a brilliantly made horror movie. One of the best in years.
Nick said...
Rephrase: Just a brilliantly made horror/comedy movie.
Shea said...
I will make a deal with you Nick...you go see The Ruins and give me your opinion and I will watch Feast.
Nick said...
Hmm... very tempting deal. The only movie coming out this weekend I want to see is Smart People (and I have no idea if it's coming here yet)... so okay... I'll think about going to see it this weekend :P

Is that too late?
martha said...
whoa. this is the longest line of comment dialogue i've ever seen (except maybe when i write a political post). but i thought even the previews for this looked awful, and i'm shocked and saddened that even THIS got more stars than leatherheads.
Andy said...
We debated on giving Leatherheads 2 stars but I definitely enjoyed The Ruins more.
Andy said...
And Shea - The only time I saw you inching (pun intended) closer and closer to the edge of your seat was during the blonde chics gratuitous parading around nude scene
Adam said...
Andy is a rowdy devil, isn't he? Yeesh!

Anyway, I'm working on my review of this and we'll talk shortly. It sucked, sorry but it did - and just b/c it was better than Leatherheads doesn't make it okay.

They had all those torches - why didn't they just set the vines on fire? DUMB
Andy said...
Adam: Again "Oh Lord! The whole thang's a vine" The vine covered pyramid would have acted like a giant tiki torch burning all who were trapped on top.
Adam said...
GOOD.
My review is up over at the blog, for your viewing enjoyment.
Nick said...
Alrighty... I held up my end of the deal, Shea! I just got home from seeing it. The full review with all of my thoughts will be up on the blog probably on Thursday after I finish my East Asian cinema blog-a-thon.

But to give you a sample... I actually agree with you, Shea. Jonathan Tucker was the best thing about the movie (character-wise, anyway). The first 2/3s of the movie or so was pretty bad (it had its moments, though). But the last 1/3 of the movie was much better... the amputation and body mutilation stuff amped it up a notch.

Otherwise, it was just a bunch of cliches on a hilltop crying and whining.