THE RUINS. 2008. DIRECTED BY CARTER SMITH. STARRING JONATHAN TUCKER, JENA MALONE, SHAWN ASHMORE, LAURA RAMSEY AND JOE ANDERSON. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I wasn’t expecting much from this film when I saw it in the TV listings. I kind of thought it might be like one of the crappy low-budget horror flicks you find in their droves in the second-hand shops. Mind you, I’ve unearthed many a gem in exactly this way. THE RUINS definitely falls into the ‘gem’ category. It was thoroughly enjoyable to watch and genuinely scary in places.
So, you’ve got this group of horny American college students on a sun, sea, sand and sex-type holiday in Mexico, right? Firstly, how brilliantly clichéd is that…? Secondly, when they meet an attractive German holiday-maker called Matthias who invites them to come and check out some ancient Mayan ruins with him, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that spooky doings will shortly be a-transpiring…
Matthias’s brother, Heinrich, has gone exploring these off-the-beaten-track ruins with his archaeologist girlfriend. When the students reach the fantastic, vine-covered Mayan temple deep in the Mexican jungle, however, there’s no sign of the pair.
Just a brief word about the ruined temple. You know those giant structures that have all these really wide steps seeming to go way up into the sky and they’re flat on top…? Well, the Mayans used to perform sacrifices to their gods on this plateau. See? This review is informative as well as entertaining, haha.
Anyway, out of nowhere, the students are terrorised by unusually hostile locals, who don’t seem to want them climbing up the ruins. The frightened students high-tail it up to the top of the temple where they think they’ll be safe but once they’re up there, the locals are even more determined that they shouldn’t come down again. Ever.
In fact, the gun-toting locals seem even more scared than the students. Why, we wonder? What’s up there that has the natives all freaked out? It must be something bad, because they’re prepared to kill to make sure that it doesn’t come down and affect them. Or should I say in-fect them, hee-hee-hee…
I was agog with curiosity by this point. Then Matthias hears his brother’s ringtone coming from the bottom of a deep, dark hole up on top of the ruins. Down he goes to investigate. The rope breaks and he falls to the bottom and breaks a load of bones. Jeff and Eric send their girlfriends Amy and Stacey down to put him onto a makeshift stretcher so they can lift him out. That’s when the fun really starts…
There’s something down the hole, something evil. It covers the entire ruins, in fact. The natives know about it and they fear it. They know it won’t stop doing what comes naturally to it until every single one of the students is dead. And until they are- all dead, that is- they’re going to have to remain quarantined on top of the Temple Of Doom, but without any handsome and fearless Indiana Jones to save them. And then the screaming starts…
This is a terrific film. Check out what’s going on under Matthias’s blanket. Check out what medical student Jeff is prepared to do first for Matthias and later for his own girlfriend, Amy. Check out everything that happens to poor Stacey, because those are some truly stand-out horror movie scenes. Check out the whole film, in fact. It’s a little cracker, with the kind of ending I like, where it’s over but it’s not really over, if you see what I mean. Happy viewing. But you won’t sleep comfortably afterwards, I’ll tell you that for nothing.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY