Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Ruins

I was kind a hoping this would be 2008's first unique and thrilling horror movie. Unfortunately it turned out to be pretty uninspiring. It fell into the same category as 30 Days of Night. It looked pretty good, but the acting and the story just made the movie fall apart.

This is the second outing of author Scott B. Smith. His first venture, A Simple Plan, garnered him an Oscar nomination. Now, his new screenplay also based off one of his books has created quite some anticipation. I can't say anything for the book, but if it's like the movie, it would be airport literature at best. The wonderful exploration into human nature that was A Simple Plan, is replaced by standard isolationist horror.

Jonathon Tucker, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, and Laura Ramsey star as a group of American tourists visiting Latin America. Throw in Joe Anderson as the obligatory European, and you get Turistas: the sequel. The only difference is that instead of organ harvesters killing off the tourists, it's killer vines. Yup, you heard me, killer vines.The five tourists of course try to go off the beaten path, and find an ancient Mayan temple to explore. Before long, a group of natives (at least I assume) heard them up to the top of the temple at gunpoint, and leave them there to the whims of the aforementioned vines.

This movie is not for the faint of heart. There are some rather graphic scenes including amputations, and the very invasive vines. These certainly aren't as bad as many other movies out there, but it's more the idea that makes you squeamish with this movie.

It's tough to judge the acting in a horror movie, because you never actually expect it to be very good. I mean how often do genuinely feel terror from watching one of these movies. Not very often. Add to this the generally over-elaborate and terribly written dialog, and horror movie actors tend to be reduced to vehicles for killings. This may be due to my desensitization from horror movies, but I didn't care what happened to these people. To her credit, though, Jenna Malone was the one exception. She handled her part pretty convincingly.

Don't bother with this movie. Even if (or maybe especially if) you like horror movies, you'll be let down by this. It, like a lot of movies lately, seemed to have some real potential, but resorted to shock value instead of really exploring what these things are, and who these people are.


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