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Reed Alexander’s Review of ‘The Ruins’ (2008)

Then Something Eats Your Face…

You know, I don’t know why I like this movie so much.  Maybe because it’s not just horror, but survival horror.  It has that “brink of madness, human limits tested, sense of dread” that I love so much about zombie movies (when they’re done right).  Kind of like The Road.  That wasn’t horror, but it’s just an epic long, grueling march, right into the grave. It’s just fucking brutal. *cue Nathan Explosion*

There’s nothing really scary about this movie.  No one is being chased, the ‘monster’ isn’t cunning, per se; it’s just watching the protagonists slowly go mad and eat themselves alive (metaphorically, not a spoiler).  This all happens right before they inevitably become food. It’s like that scene in From The Dark where the main character chiseled her own finger off to prevent herself from becoming a vampire. This movie is just like that; scene after scene of agonizing tension followed swiftly by mind-numbing mutilation. It’s a good Christmas movie =D

The acting is better than can be expected for horror, the atmosphere spot on, and the practical FX coupled marvelously with CGI.  It’s all quite brilliant. I recommend this for horror heads.  


The plants are eating people…  Am I the only one who was sad there wasn’t a plant monster?  You know, like Swamp Thing or some shit?  I don’t know, I just really wanted a plant monster.  I get it, technically the whole damn ruin is the plant monster, but, I don’t know… typical 12-year-old monster geek in me.

They did KINDA have to spoon-feed the plant monster at first.  I mean, if the first Mayan fellow hadn’t freaked the fuck out on the main characters, he could have potentially coaxed them away from the ruins before anyone got ‘infected.’  Really, his handling of the whole situation is just as much to blame as the quirky German guy who led our protagonists to the ruins.  I mean, they didn’t have him go completely savage, but you figure he would be able to comprehend that if he can’t understand the random white kids that have wandered up to the ruin, they can’t understand him, either.  They kinda just depict the guy as your typical uncivilized brute.  The worst part is, he clearly he couldn’t be.  He’s been methodically leading his clan to prevent the spread of the plant monster for his whole life.  But I guess if one of them didn’t accidentally step on the plant, there would be no movie, right?

Eh, I’m not happy about it, but it’s one infraction.  Once the kids are ‘infected,’ the plants take care of the rest.  I mean, there’s no place for them to go with the villagers quarantining them on the ruins.  From there, it actually has some solid body horror.  The plant works slowly like an infection.  Once it gets under the skin, there’s no digging it out.  Though, one of the best scenes is when a character tries.

The only other things that bother me are just silly details.  Why did the plants have green leafy blooms and flowers in the sunless belly of the ruins?  You know why plants are green, right?  It’s the green chloroplasts in the plants that capture light to produce sugars.  I mean, they could’ve just had the root structure down there.  That would have been pretty creepy: gnarled, grabbing roots that drip the blood of the victims.  That shouldn’t bother me as much as it does.  I mean, the fucking flowers can mimic noises to attract prey.  At one point they mimic the sound of a cell phone.  I need to suspend my disbelief a bit more I guess.

But yeah, watching the main characters go slowly mad as they’re picked apart limb-from-limb is just so fucking gruesome. I loved every aching minute of it. I give this one my recommendation.

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