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The Ruins


The premise showed loads of promise. What could be a better setting for a gruesome horror flick than some sort of ancient haunted Mayan temple deep in the jungle? I won't ruin it for you, but trust me when I say the source of what terrorizes these young 20-somethings is far less scary than it could've been.

Four college-aged friends' vacation to Mexico takes a detour when a poolside German invites them to explore some off-the-map ruins his brother has unearthed. Casting better judgment aside, they trek into dense jungle where they become trapped on top of an ancient temple.

I heard rumors this film was extra gory like predecessors Hostel and Turistas, and while the "lost in a foreign country" theme is borrowed from the latter, both earlier films are far gorier. This one is less mentally disturbing as well.

The acting is passable and features a cast of recognizable young actors from Saved, X-Men and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Production designer Grant Major, surprisingly, is the same guy who worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he gives some added depth to the surprisingly minimal sets. The film's problem, however, lies in its story, which never dares to deviate from the standard horror line and for some reason never explains why in the heck the supernatural element is even there.

This one's quite disappointing—and don't say I didn't warn you about the culprit—but if you've got to have horror, it might almost get you by.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.