The Ruins Review, by James Berardinelli of ReelViews

The Ruins does what a good psychological horror movie should do: rely on tension rather than gore to achieve its aims. This bleak, edgy motion picture isn't concerned with appealing to the masses that flock to multiplexes to enjoy the spatterings of the latest serial slasher or the hollow weirdness of a PG-13 ghost story. Adapting from his own novel, Scott Smith stays true to the tone and intent, if not all the specifics, of the original story. The Ruins is about the dynamics that develop within a group of five as they face the inevitability of their own deaths at the top of a lost Mayan temple in the middle of a jungle.


The movie begins the way many generic horror films begin: with a group of four college students on Spring Break in Mexico. They are Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) and Amy (Jena Malone), and Amy's best friend, Stacy (Laura Ramsey), and her boyfriend, Eric (Shawn Ashmore). While lounging around the pool at their hotel, they meet Mathias (Joe Anderson). After getting to know them, Mathias invites them to accompany him on an expedition to a newly discovered pyramid. Jeff, Stacy, and Eric are all for it, but it takes some persuasion before Amy agrees. The group will soon wish they had heeded her misgivings. It takes a taxi ride into the middle of nowhere and a long hike along barely marked trails before they reach the temple. Once there, they are confronted by a man with a gun and another with a bow and arrow who make it unmistakably clear that they will kill any of them if they try to leave the temple. So, with little food and water, they find themselves trapped at the top of the pyramid - but limited supplies turn out to be the least of their problems.


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The Ruins

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