Saturday 6 January 2024

The Ruins (2008)

This is my kind of 'horror' film! Not silly jump-scares, but a nasty mystery/thriller with plenty of controlled gore and chills! It's about a group of youngsters who are in Mexico on holiday. They bump into a German bloke at the pool who offers them a trip the next day to an archaeological dig site, which they go along with. When they get there, it turns out that it’s some kind of spooky temple delivering a historic curse on anyone who touches it.

When our ignorant little group are floating around at the foot of the temple’s long staircase, a bunch of locals turn up with bows/arrows and guns, threatening. Nobody can understand each others’ language so our bods don’t know what’s going on until one of them touches the green vines and they get shot, dead, by the villagers. The rest of them scarper away and up the steps to escape the apparently fruit-loop villagers.

Once they’re up there they start making all sorts of nasty discoveries including remains and debris from people who had clearly been there before them and not survived. They discover a hole with a winch above it so they can lower themselves inside the temple, which they do because they hear a mobile phone ringing in there and, of course, none of their phones have signal! So they’re stuck with facing the murderous villagers or staying put at the top and trying to find some other escape.

As you’d expect, the temple with a life of its own starts to play tricks on them, accidents happen, some gory stuff results and as you’d expect, they start to have to fight to survive and save their lives, whilst they, and we, start to understand the extent of what’s going on with the temple, unfolding at a good pace. There’s some great suspense going on and the acting from the four leads in the engaging character roles is very good indeed.

The man who wrote the originating book and script here is Scott B Smith, who also wrote A Simple Plan (1998), one of my Top 100 films, so it’s no wonder I liked this too. So, it’s not really scary, as such, more tense and suspenseful about the unknown as we learn about what’s going on. It has a satisfying ending, too, not a daft, Hollywood one. I really enjoyed it and would recommend.

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