Horror. Worldview. Faith.

The Ruins – Review

The Ruins – Review

Jan 25, 2010

reviewed by Melissa
directed by Carter Smith, 2008

The Ruins is Carter Smith’s adaptation of Scott Smith’s sophomore novel of the same name. Scott Smith also helmed the writing of the screen play. For those who do not know, Scott Smith’s first novel was A Simple Plan, which was adapted for screen and directed by Sam Raimi.

The film opens with an intense scene of a woman sitting in the dark crying and trying desperately to get a cell phone signal then being yanked into the darkness.

We then transition to Jeff, Amy, Eric and Stacy, who are two twenty-something couples vacationing in Mexico and vegging by the resort pool. In predictable fashion a fifth vacationer, Mathias, inserts himself into the group and convinces the couples to venture with him to a remote Mayan temple. Mathias wants to travel to the temple to find his brother who has gone to the site with a female archeologist who is excavating the temple. Needless to say after a drunken night of partying they meet early the next morning to travel to the temple with a sixth person, Dimitri. Foreshadowing the fact that they are making a bad decision we have a taxi that refuses to drive them to the hiking trail until bribed, two creepy children staring at them from the jungle as they search for the path, and when they find the path it has been deliberately hidden. Once they finally reach the temple I expected the pace of the film to pick up – I was wrong.

Immediately after the group arrives at the temple, some locals show up and start screaming at them in a language no one understands. As the group retreats from the locals toward the temple,  Amy and Dimitri step on some vines covering the temple and the locals begin brandishing weapons. When Dimitri steps off the vine towards the locals he is shot and killed and the rest of the group is herded up onto the top of the temple where the rest of the film takes place. Trapped between the locals and the evil that resides at the temple.

The Ruins is a slow paced movie that never really has another scary moment beyond the opening scene. The characters quickly settle into stereotypical roles including one who wants to make a run for it, one that wants to wait for rescue, one that goes berserk, one that keeps the group together, and an injured one. The worst part about the characters is none of them make any attempt to fight the evil, which is a bloodthirsty climbing vine that is about as scary as a ficus.

We are treated to a few gory scenes including a double amputation and the attempts by one character to cut pieces of the vine out of her own body. While these scenes were fairly intense, they were not enough to carry the movie. I was happy the premise of the film was different than the usual tourist horror movies however it quickly fell into the same old clichés.  The movie ends in such a way as to leave room for a sequel, which the director is quoted as saying was not his intent. This is a good thing.

Overall The Ruins was slow, the characters flat, and the villain laughable. This would be one to avoid.


  1. Too late for me on this one. I had heard both negative and positive things from trusted friends, so I was sad to find this to be so bloody average. Anyway, nice review and great to have you on board.

  2. Didn’t really like this movie, but I didn’t hate it. I guess it was ok, borderline bad. Maybe like 5.1 outta 10 stars lol.

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