Runtime: 1h 30m
Director: Carter Smith
Writer: Scott B. Smith
Stars: Shawn Ashmore, Jena Malone, Jonathan Tucker
Double Feature Fodder:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Initial: Yeah, I’m skipping Q in favor of double R. What of it?
Production Notes: Based on a novel of the same name by Scott Smith. Smith was only two-thirds finished writing the book when it was optioned to be a film. He also wrote the screenplay.
What Did I Think:
The setup is for this story is terrible. As is the case with many, many horror movies, we begin with a group of white, upper-class-ish characters who find themselves in a difficult situation. Introducing the characters and establishing their relationships can make or break the film. The audience should probably care about them before bad things start to happen. And The Ruins kind of fails in this. None of the characters are interesting or particularly likeable. Despite a pretty long introductory section, I really couldn’t remember who was with whom.
Our four protagonists, on vacation in Mexico, decide to visit an off-the-map archeological dig site on the advice of a German tourist they meet on the beach. I’m fairly sure most dig sites do not want people just showing up, but whatever . . . The dig is actually an overgrown Mayan ziggurat, but no one is there—until a couple dozen Mayans(?) emerge from the jungle and surround the temple. From their perimeter, they kill anyone who has had physical contact with the temple.
The third act of The Ruins is pretty good. It would be better if we cared a little more about our protagonists as they fall prey to the temple’s inhabitants and their own bad luck. It all ends up being fairly creepy with a good dash of body horror. And kudo for man-eating plants!