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
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.