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The Ruins: Unrated (2008) [Blu-ray] [Import]

Shawn Ashmore , Jena Malone , Carter Smith    Unrated   Blu-ray
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sticky weather, sticky vines, bad vacation time July 13 2008
Format:DVD
"The Ruins" is a film adaptation of the popular Scott Smith novel of the same name. Released in 2006, it was the author's follow-up to 1993's acclaimed "A simple plan". As such, The Ruins came in with a lot of hype, and a few gushing reviews notably by Stephen King. But despite the fact the book has sold a great amount of copies, it has also been victim of some lashing critical ire, especially here on Amazon, where there are countless extremely negative reviews of the book due to its pacing, supposedly annoying characters and length. This movie adaptation attempts to mostly use the overarching concept of Smith's novel and deliver suspense in a tight, filler-free 95 minutes of running time. For the most part, it succeeds.

The film follows the travelling exploits of 4 vacationing college students who are in Mexico on an all-inclusive resort for some much needed rest, relaxation, and some partying thrown in for good measure. Times are good, and with only 2 days left of vacation time, they meet a young German traveller by the pool who tells them about a Ruin temple, off the beaten path that is supposedly tourist-free and would make a great one-day trip. The 4 take him up on the offer and despite the warnings of a couple of locals who say it's "bad place", they hire a villager to drop them off into the remote spot. Once they get there however they soon discover that there is a very good reason why these Ruins are so isolated and off the beaten path. Let the horror begin...

I found "The Ruins" to be an extremely effective horror film and somewhat unique within the horror genre. Of course, the "young people vacationing in a remote spot" has been done tireless amounts of times but the approach is somewhat different here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bunch of vines that eats people... Sept. 27 2008
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this movie and having not read the book I was surprised to find it to be pretty decent. It starts off just like an original horror movie but shift as you get further into it. The Ruins takes place in Mexico with four college-age kids (Tucker, Malone, Ashmore and Ramsy) and another guy (Anderson), the latter who takes them to a Mayan temple where his brother is working supposedly on a dig. When they get there, a bunch of angry Mexican-Myans attack them, they scurry up to the top of the temple, and are basically quarantined with a host of virulent, monster-type plants and vines, who in typical horror fashion kill them off one by one. That's the basic premise, anyway, and if you know that and have seen the trailer you probably took a guess whether this is up your alley.

The film really came through for me and I was pleased with the outcome. The cast was pretty respectable and I really came to love Stacy's (Laura Ramsey) character in the end. The characters did have their brainless moments at times, but were believable and you could tell they were desperate to get down there. The film has it's shocking moments and those come about halfway throughout the film. There was one scene that stood out and made me at awe.

On the downside of it all I would have loved more character development and transition scenes between the characters. I hear there was a bit more of character development scenes that were cut. Why? Next, I got a very different vibe from the trailer than the actual film. Finally, I'm sure this is the most talked about negative and that would be the ending. It felt rushed and quick. The truth is it could have been so much stronger of a film if it had more of a psychological ending.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Pretty Good Horror Film Jan. 31 2011
By Moodywoody TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Obviously, if you don't like horror movies, then you won't like The Ruins. However, if you enjoy the genre, then this film is above average. Its strength as a horror film is its ability to allow the audience to identify with the characters and situation. The characters are young people in their early twenties, from American and European middle class backgrounds, who meet up by chance in a Mexican holiday resort and decide to have an adventurous exploration of some Mayan ruins. The horror of the film is not that they run into some kind of supernatural or alien terror, but basically a predatory carnivorous plant, in this case, vines. It is like a giant Venus Fly Trap that eats people, but also has a parasitic ability to grow within its victim's body.

The film does a fine job developing the characters, each having his or her own unique disposition. In fact, the characters in this film add to the horror effect of this film in that they are genuine and real people with a strong sense of looking out for each other. There are no jerks in this group, as you often find in such films, so that the audience can be emotionally indifferent to their demise. There is a certain emotional power to this film as we view these average young people, used to the security and comfort of their backgrounds, finding themselves alone in a nightmare that they are slowly beginning to realize will ultimately lead to their death.

This is a horror film that I can safely say does its job in giving the viewer the chills.
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  181 reviews
62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Ruins may not ruin your day, but it won't uplift it either. April 14 2008
By Steven Hedge - Published on Amazon.com
This rather bleak film is actually well acted, but not well paced and has an ending that is fairly predictable based upon how the story boxes itself in early.

The story is about two couples who get caught up into checking out some ancient Mayan ruins meet up with some weeds that have incredible abilities. We get enough background on the characters to care about them and it helps that they are all rather appealing even if somewhat flawed. They are refreshing nice young adults who are not the stereotypes we've been seeing in horror films lately. Their interactions with each other are very believable.

They discover an old temple/pyramid and hike into up and into it to discover that the locals will not let them leave it for fear of spreading what lurks in the ruins. This is a clever low-budget way of keeping the action in one or two locations (on top of the ruins and in the ruins), however, it also greatly limits the direction the story can go in and, thus, makes it predictable. There is a generous amount of old fashioned horror bloodshed and very brief nudity that is not gratuitous in any way (for a change). The violence is of the strong R variety and definitely not for the faint of heart. The effects are minimal, but good as is the make up which is quite graphic.

This movie is certainly not all it could have been and borrows heavily from better films like The Descent, The Day of the Triffids, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but it is very nicely acted by young people we do care about and there is enough in the tissue paper thin plot to keep us interested for it's brief 90 minutes. There is adequate suspense, but it is often ruined, pun intended, by the director's focus on the grisly stuff rather than leaving a bit more to our imagination.

I had some fun with this film, my nearly sixteen year old son less so, but it isn't as bad as some think, but it certainly isn't as good as others think as well. It is simply an okay film and with some of its jarring images, it isn't easily forgotten.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good thing I'm not into gardening April 4 2008
By Monkdude - Published on Amazon.com
I never read the novel, but The Ruins is a worthy horror film for those with a strong stomach. There are two really disturbing scenes that put Hostel to shame and the camera doesn't shy away. I can't imagine what they cut out for the Unrated DVD (which you know is coming), but it probably isn't much. The cast is good overall (especially Laura Ramsey in a chilling performance) and there were only a couple of times when I sat shaking my head at the stupid things they said or did. A couple of times is not bad when compared to most horror films, besides it comes with the territory.

My only gripe is that the "creature" isn't shown enough (much like Cloverfield) which can add to the suspense, but by the end of the film I was hoping to see or learn just a little more about it.

All in all, The Ruins is one of the most shocking horror films I have seen in quite some time and worth a trip to the theater.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I loved the book but the new ending ruins "The Ruins" for me April 4 2008
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
My wife and I both read Scott Smith's "The Ruins)" two summers back when it came out, which is why she did not go to the theater this afternoon to see the movie version. Previously she has left me sitting alone in the movie theater during showings of "Snakes on a Plane" and "Planet Terror," and I am pretty sure that there is some sort of third strike rule here that I need to stay clear of (for the record, she walked out of parts of "The Passion of the Christ" too, but she went with her mother and I was the chauffer and therefore not on a date). So I returned from seeing the opening showing of "The Ruins" this afternoon, and reported to her that yes, indeed, the scenes that she did not want to see and in the movie, so we was wise to stay eating popcorn in bed and watching episode after episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," because she would have fled the theater. Then she asked how the movie was, and I told her in one concise sentence was happens at the end. She frowned and said, "So they ruined it."

Down in Mexico on Yucatan peninsula a pair of American couples are nearing the end of their vacation. We have Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) and Amy (Jena Malone), along with Eric (Shawn Ashmore) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey). They meet up Mathias (Joe Anderson) and his friend Dimitri (Dimitri Baveas). Mathias is trying to track down his brother, who is working on an archeological dig in the area. The idea of seeing an ancient Mayan ruin that is not some sort of tourist trap is intriguing so they find a local taxi pickup truck and head out into the jungle. Once there they find the path to the ruin, but as soon as they touch the bottom step a group of Mayans show up brandishing guns and other weapons, demanding that the visitors keep going the direction they are going and not return. Once atop the ruins, the group is trapped. Then things get worse.

Reading the novel will tell you most of what happens in this movie, but in adapting his screenplay to the screen, Smith has decided to switch who things happen to in this version of the tale. Maybe this is just to surprise his readers, and maybe it is because some of these people look better in their underwear than others. I cannot say that these changes hurt the story, because they do not. Trying to cut out pieces of an insidious vine invading your body or doing major surgery with a rock and a knife is always going to make me cringe, and I have to think many people will feel the same way. The problem with most of the film is that why all of the choice parts of the novel remain, albeit somewhat recast, most of the connecting tissue has had to be excised to get this film in at 91 minutes. That means that one of the key aspects of the novel, the fact that these people are trapped for several days in the hot sun with next to nothing for food and water, is fast forwarded through in the movie. One of the things that made the novel effective was that you had a real sense for how these people were spending hours not doing anything but living in fear. Then every time they actually tried doing something, it only tended to make things worse. All of that is essentially lost in this movie, which is where we lose the first star.

It is the ending that costs "The Ruins" a second star. Yes, Smith wrote the screenplay, so it would seem that the finger of blame should be pointed in his direction, but I have seen way too many alternative endings (and multiple alternative endings), so I am well aware that directors and studios do not care about how good a book or a script is, they only care about what the test results tell them to think. Because this is the sort of ending that a test audience might like, but only because they did not read the book and they have no appreciation for what makes a great ending in a horror film. What allows hyperbolic copywriters to claim that "The Ruins" is the greatest horror novel of the 21st century (good to know that it is all downhill for the next 92 years) is that the ending of the book drives home the final nail in the coffin. When this movie gets to what is essentially the same final scene as the book, the context is all different because of one massively monumental and stupid change. That final shot is now rendered superfluous.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bunch of vines that eats people... Sept. 8 2008
By Jenny J.J.I. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this movie and having not read the book I was surprised to find it to be pretty decent. It starts off just like an original horror movie but shift as you get further into it. The Ruins takes place in Mexico with four college-age kids (Tucker, Malone, Ashmore and Ramsy) and another guy (Anderson), the latter who takes them to a Mayan temple where his brother is working supposedly on a dig. When they get there, a bunch of angry Mexican-Myans attack them, they scurry up to the top of the temple, and are basically quarantined with a host of virulent, monster-type plants and vines, who in typical horror fashion kill them off one by one. That's the basic premise, anyway, and if you know that and have seen the trailer you probably took a guess whether this is up your alley.

The film really came through for me and I was pleased with the outcome. The cast was pretty respectable and I really came to love Stacy's (Laura Ramsey) character in the end. The characters did have their brainless moments at times, but were believable and you could tell they were desperate to get down there. The film has it's shocking moments and those come about halfway throughout the film. There was one scene that stood out and made me at awe.

On the downside of it all I would have loved more character development and transition scenes between the characters. I hear there was a bit more of character development scenes that were cut. Why? Next, I got a very different vibe from the trailer than the actual film. Finally, I'm sure this is the most talked about negative and that would be the ending. It felt rushed and quick. The truth is it could have been so much stronger of a film if it had more of a psychological ending. I was hoping for one thing to happen and something else ended up happening. That's my biggest disappointment for the film.

"The Ruins" do get quite gory and brutal as the teens get infected in various ways and start losing their minds. There's some nudity, too. The story does stay away from some clichés, like a fiery conclusion or the anorexic girl hero who saves everyone by beating the bad guys to death. Perhaps most surprising was the villain of the story aside from that it's a watchable flick.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a nice way to end a holiday Aug. 6 2008
By Mr. Luke Hutchinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I enjoyed this film. Sure it had some terrible reviews but it is one of the most entertaining horror films this year.
Not overly scary, but ultra violent. This film is based more on the psychological ramifications of horrific events. The film left me wanting to read the novel, mostly to elaborate on scenarios that seemed shortened for low attention spans. How often do wish a horror film could be longer? Quite rare.

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