Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ruins, The - 4/5

Despite what a synopsis will read of this film (see the next paragraph), this film rarely feels like the campy Horror film it could have easily turned out to be. With a solid cast, great dialogue and character interactions, some solid atmosphere, and a visual charm to it "The Ruins" struts itself off as a competent and frightening Horror gem in a world of rehashed ideas despite its generally absurd concept.

Two couples on a vacation in Mexico find themselves in the company of a charming young German tourist who tells them that his brother has gone off with a young archeologist to a hidden set of ruins. Seeing the chance for some real adventure in their rather cliche time down in Mexico, the five of them (plus a random Greek tourist who promises that his friends will be coming later) head off into the wilderness to find these awesome ruins. When they get there though they are forced to stay on the ruins by some Mayan villagers where they discover that the local plant life is a little nastier (and hungrier) than the gardens that they are used to. Now its a fight against nature as these young people desperately try to find a way out of the ruins.

Yeah. That's right. Killer fucking plants. This isn't your "Little Shop Of Horrors" though. Playing with the concept straight on like they should, "The Ruins" makes the concept not only palpable but insanely frightening and well crafted. It helps that the author of the book that its based on also screen played this bad ass. His writing makes this a sleek little Horror ride so damn intense that will make you think twice about trudging off in the wilderness.

The characters, despite their initial run on screen, are completely believable in their varied emotions on their predicament (with special note to Stacy (Ramsey) and her characters eventual paranoid breakdown) and the film rightly places a lot of the weight of this film on their shoulders as actors and their interactions.

Matching the intense writing and on screen work is a keen eye for the atmosphere by director Carter Smith, who despite some hit or miss CGI, is able to rightly play many of the over the top plot elements. The talking flowers (that sounds so very odd and "Alice In Wonderland" of me to type) could have come off as out of place and hilarious, but his depiction of them gives the film a creepy nightmarish feeling that follows the tone nicely. It's these things that sell this film.

"The Ruins" was just an overly surprising film that nailed all the things that one expects from a great Horror film. At times it did suffer from its own over the top plot elements, but the cast and crew did amazing things to over come most of them to create this vivid film. A definite must for modern Horror classics. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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