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Movies Kelly Parks

Review by
Kelly Parks

The Ruins
THE RUINS - 2008
20th Century Fox
Rating: USA: R

Children are great. And, as you know, they are our future. But when they stare at you silently from a distance they’re freaking creepy, especially in a horror movie.

THE RUINS was directed by Carter Smith (BUGCRUSH) and written by Scott B. Smith (A SIMPLE PLAN) and is based on his novel.

The story opens with a terrified girl in a very dark place screaming for help. Things don’t go well for her.

Cut to two beautiful young couples on vacation in Mexico, hanging out by the pool. Jeff (Jonathan Tucker: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE [2003], MASTERS OF HORROR: DANCE OF THE DEAD), Amy (Jena Malone: DONNIE DARKO), Eric (Shawn Ashmore: X-MEN [all]) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey: THE COVENANT, VENOM) are wondering what fun thing to do next when they meet German tourist Mathias (Joe Anderson: SILENCE BECOMES YOU, CREEP). Mathias tells them about a newly discovered Mayan ruin some friends of his are studying and that he plans a trip out there the next day. Before you can say, “Sounds like a bad idea to me”, the group decides to join in.

They arrive at the vine-covered Mayan pyramid and things go wrong almost immediately when they run into a very bad man (Sergio Calderon: MEN IN BLACK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END) and his troops, who force them to the top of the pyramid. There they find the empty tents of the archeological team they were supposed to meet. Where are the people? And why have the locals surrounded the pyramid so they can’t leave?

Well, obviously it has something to do with the pyramid, or rather something inside. I won’t say what but I will pause for what has to be a rather cryptic

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
The “it” inside the pyramid isn’t entirely unbelievable but there are some obvious issues that in a better movie would have been explained. Why hasn’t it spread farther, given that the efforts to contain it seem pretty haphazard? Why would anyone live near something so dangerous? If they’d made it something supernatural (and worshipped by the locals) that would answer these and several other questions, but this is never made clear.

That being said, it’s a decent little horror flick. You feel for these young people as they lose their sense of invulnerability that the young always have and try their best to deal with what seems to be a hopeless situation. There are many very creepy scenes and the cold-hearted locals keeping them in the dangerous place are almost as scary as the “it” itself. I just wish some more of the obvious questions had been answered and that the ending had been a bit clearer.

I give THE RUINS three shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2008 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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