The Ruins Review

The-Ruins-ReviewHey there. Thanks for checking out our “The Ruins” review.

I’ve got to admit right up front that when I first saw the marketing for “The Ruins”, I shock my head and didn’t have much hope for it. You can’t blame me really. The last 2 years have been filled with utterly forgetable tripe in the horror world. So much just seems to be a shameless knock off of the film that just came out 2 weeks ago, that was itself a shameless knock off of something else from last month… and so on and so on. Some movies off the top of my head like Bug, Skinwalkers and Captivity all fit into this category, and to be frank, The Ruins looked like just another throw away horror movie. Thankfully, it’s not… and actually ends up entertaining you a little.


The idea for The Ruins goes something like this: Two young female best friends and their respective boyfriends (one of which is a medical student) are off on a resort holiday in Mexico enjoying themselves. For their whole trip they’ve pretty much just stayed at the resort and haven’t done any adventuring. On their second last day they meet a German tourist who tells them about an ancient ruins site that isn’t on the tourist maps that his brother is currently at doing some excavating with an archeologist and he is going to go see it himself “tomorrow” since he has a map. The group agrees to go him. Once they arrive they find that people from a local village refuse to let them leave or get off the ruins at all. They don’t know why they’re being kept there, but slowly start to understand, and realize they aren’t really alone! DUN DUN DUN!!!


Just as I always say that comedies must make you laugh in order to really work, horror movies have to legitimately make you feel scared or at least creeped out in order for it to really work. On this level, The Ruins doesn’t disappoint in my books. As the 5 friends start to understand and realize the horror that inhabits the ruins they are being isolated on, I found myself sharing a sense of dread that the characters must have been feeling. There are several solid “money shots” in the film that successfully disturb you, others that scare you. There is one shot in particular involving some pretty red flowers that gave me a serious “HOLY SHIT” moment.

You know what, for a lower budget horror film in this vein of genre, the acting was surprisingly good, especially the scenes where you’re supposed to believe the characters are horrified out of their wits. Trust me, you believe it.

The Ruins does a nice job of avoiding some seriously overused horror cliches. There are a few parts in the movie where you THINK you know what’s going to happen (because it looks like another cliche about to be employed) only to realize the director steers away from it. It was refreshing to see (although the film is not totally devoid of its share of cliches)


The funny thing is that there aren’t really any glaring or obvious weaknesses to The Ruins for me to talk about here. The biggest sin in the film is mediocrity. While the basic story is fine, the acting is pretty good, the effects were decent… nothing was “exceptional” with the film and far too many things are left on a shallow note for us as an audience to just wonder about and never know. I’m cool with films not spelling everything out to us… but to give us basically NOTHING is a bit frustrating, and without at least some back knowledge of a story it’s difficult to get too interested or invested in what’s going on. The movie works as a horror, but it remains bland in just about every other aspect. The characters aren’t compelling, there is no back story to speak of and aside from one or two little semi-surprises the whole movie is just these characters in the same situation for the entire duration of the film without much else to push the story along… if there was more story to be pushed on to.


The Ruins works because it succeeds at what horror movies must do… creep you out and scare you enough times. But it fails to get much more than a passing grade because it clearly decides to rest lazily on that fact and puts next to no effort into rounding it out as an overall movie to make something special. As a result, you still get an enjoyable little horror film that I think works, but nothing too special. Overall I give The Ruins a 6.5 out of 10

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21 thoughts on “The Ruins Review

  1. Just watched this recently from HBO .. and man.. after seeing the trailers, I “thought” it was good so I waited for it. After the movie, I felt I wasted one and a half hour of my precious weekend nights. It was disappointing. It’s like it builds the story up for something really scary and amazing to happen then boom… it flat-lined. I initially thought that the moving vines and mimicking flowers were corny so I just hoped the story will be good. But as it turns out, it was not. The fact that in some scenes it gave a good scare, that makes it more disappointing. It felt like that when the movie was nearing the end, it suddenly went out of budget and cannot come up with a good ending.

  2. This movie sucked so bad I damn near shit myself. It was WAY funnier than scary! I think this is the dumbest movie iv ever seen. Not worth anything except for a good laugh. (Give me the knife),cut,cut(it doesnt hurt),cut,cut,(now the hot pot!!! lol

  3. I just have to say, there’s been a lot of really bad movies put out lately, and this was very well put together – good premise (even though it could have been difficult to take seriously – man eating plants, pfft), but the way it was written/shot made it actually seem plausible. Good acting helped. The idea of slowly losing your mind, believing that your bodily integrity has been compromised, like a bad acid trip, it was just nasty, but effective. I hope they make more movies like this, because it seems that we are losing ideas lately and just rehashing old ones.

  4. I wasn’t too psyched for this movie beforehand, but I got a free pass and figured why the hell not and wound up seeing one of the better horror films I’ve seen in a good while. Thes best thing I can say about “The Ruins” is that it plays its hand honestly, there’s no tweeny BS, no winking at the camera, it’s just a classic situational horror film that just keeps getting from bad to worse in the best possible way. Like I said, I got in for free and I kinda feel like I owe ‘The Ruins” 10 bucks. But as a small caveat, I saw this film with a bunch of pretentious jackasses sitting behind me and surprise surprise, they didn’t like it. So if you fall into that category than do yourselves and anyone who can enjoy a straight shot horror film a favor and stay away.

  5. I concur with the above “Bug” comments, it really was pretty great. I spent time trying to get it out of my head too, but that’s what the film’s intentions were…

    But “The Ruins” is the only movie out right now I have interest in seeing…maybe something on this site will sway me in a good direction.

  6. Horror movies. Want to scare me? Force me to watch Bozo the Clown or My Little Ponies. Tell me that doesn’t make you want to get drunk and scream off buildings….

    As for ‘The Ruins,’ can’t say I cared for it. Just didn’t. I’m sure people enjoyed it, but as John pointed out, I doubt there will be any awards.

  7. John, thanks for another excellent review. I have to ask, however, how can you give Ruins a lower score than Leather-acting? Ruins was the best horror movie I’ve seen in a long time. I mean, the interplay between the locals and the tourists was absolutely masterful. It set up everything in such a believable way that you couldn’t help but be drawn into the drama of the situation. Talk about being stuck between Scylla and Charybdis! Furthermore, if we overlook Red, the acting was mostly top-notch, which is a rarity in any genre, especially ‘horror’. Despite the middling rating, I think the movie is well worth the $7.50.

  8. Dylan beat me to it. I was wondering if John actually seen ‘Bug’. I may not have thought “Bug’ was great,(I wouldn’t call it “bad” either”) but considering that it isn’t a horror movie and that it didn’t “knock off” any other film in recent memory is a mystery why John includes it in the same breath as that other junk. I also found the marketing misled some of the potential audience. They were expecting an eco-horror with lethal bedbugs- not a psychological thriller that is set in a general location, flypaper hanging from the celing, tin foil taped up around the rooms and two people having paranoid delusions.


    As for Ruins….

    Despite al the buzz around it and the fact that the book it is adapted from is a good read, I stayed away on this weekend for two reasons, one because there were no advance screenings, or a lack therof, and that sends out a message (wrong or right) that the studio does not have much confidence in the film because it’s a stinker and they just hope it makes a quick buck or because they “think” it is a stinker and they hope for a quick buck.

    The other reason was it was my birthday, and I was swarmed with a ton of stuff, none of it birthday related.

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