top of page

The ruins (2008)

This is one of those films that I remember seeing upon its initial release and always recalled enjoying. Although, I genuinely had no recollection of its plot, character or overall production quality. The decision to make this revisit had me questioning, what about it makes it so forgettable? I found the concept alone to be phenomenal. The idea of being trapped on top of a Mayan temple in the middle of a jungle, surrounded by local natives and being held there, whilst something sinister began to unfold, became terrifyingly claustrophobic. Although there are elements of psychological horror within the high moments of suspense and tension, I would say this film focuses more towards the shock factor that its gore provides. So for those of you with a weak stomach, I can't imagine this is going to be to your liking. The practical effects work is certainly not for the faint hearted. There are more than a few instances of extremely graphic violence (including a leg amputation and self mutilation that are very difficult to watch). As graphic as these scenes are, they seem to feel so much more enhanced due to the reactions and incredible acting of the cast. Disappointingly, there are a few scenes consisting of CGI that don’t hold up too well, and I did also find the vine plants to be quite artificial in appearance. Considering the vines are such a key element within the plot, it seemed careless to not have made sure these were realistic and effective. Although minor, I really appreciated the way the clothing of each character slowly becomes more and more mouldy and desheevilled the longer they stay on the temple. It is subtle details like these that makes me appreciate this film. Something that came as a surprise to me was the casting. It's not very often that I come across a film where if I find everyone to be not only great in their role, but to also be likable collectively. Jonathan Tucker, who plays Jeff, is most impressive of the group. He gives an amazing performance here and this is by far the best role I have seen in him to date. He is followed closely by Shawn Ashmore playing Eric. It is a shame he isn't in more projects these days as was a big fan of him in the cult TV show 'The Following'. Overall, I really enjoyed this rewatch of 'The Ruins'. I was unfulfilled by its closing moments and maybe that is what has soured my memory of this film. Considering how strong everything else was,it just fell flat for me. I know that this film is based on a novel, so I may check that out to see if it provides a stronger plot closure than the Hollywood treatment I imagine this film received. If you haven't seen this film, it is a must for fans of the genre. It is a shame this film isn't talked about more often.



bottom of page