It is Friday so it must be time for another Fear Friday review!!! Continuing with July's theme of Vacation Nightmares, this week's film leads us to an unfortunate outing in the jungles of Mexico. Site seeing is not what it used to be and our group of tourists are going to regret their choice. So sit back and brush up on your Mayan. You never know when it will come in handy!!! Enjoy!
Every Friday at the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog is Fear Friday. Fear Fridays are a celebration of all films spooky. Horror is a very broad genre and the Lounge loves it all. Each Friday you will find a review of a different film. These can range from Classic Horror (black and white and cheesy), Thrillers (suspense, jumps and a good mystery), outright Horror (chop chop, slash slash, die die) and anything else in between.
So pop some popcorn, kill the lights and enjoy tonight's selection. And please, share your comments on the film. Bad or good let me now what you thought of it. And now, my little ghouls and dolls, the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog is proud to present this week's film.
July - Vacation Nightmares
Fear Friday - The Ruins
Tagline - Terror has evolved.
Directed by Carter Smith and released on April 4, 2008 by DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution (rated R). A group of American tourists tag along with a German tourist looking for his brother who has not returned from visiting an ancient Mayan temple. Yes, there is a reason why these ruins are not on the map!!!
This week's movie, much like last week's, has a group of stupid tourists getting into trouble in out of the way places in foreign countries. In The Ruins we have 4 young Americans nearing the end of their trip to Mexico. Hanging out at the hotel pool they start talking to a German tourist who is going to visit some ancient Mayan ruins the next day. His brother and his brother's girlfriend had not returned from visiting them so he, and some Greeks he met, are going to go looking for them. Our young Americans think it is a great idea to tag along and see some local history. The ruins are not even on a map. They are so remote that they have to have a map drawn for them . Hey, nothing suspicious about that!
After spending the night drinking and drinking and.... oh yeah, drinking, the Americans, German and only one Greek (the others have not woken up yet) set off to find the ruins. After a bus ride, a truck ride from a local who gives the "don't go there" warning and a small trek down a "why is it hidden" path in the jungle our group arrives at the ruins of a Mayan temple. But in a matter of seconds they are approached by a band of very angry locals. Unable to understand them the group has no idea what is wrong and has no luck in trying to explain that they are there to find their missing friends. The confrontation leads to tragedy and forces the group to flee to the top of the ruins to await their fate.
Unlike last week's movie, Turistas, The Ruins' set up is much easier to believe. There is no dark reason for the people going to the site just the curiosity of seeing some cool ruins. Something most people do on a trip to Mexico. While there are a few red flags along the way they are not as hard to ignore as most horror films. The language barrier between the group and the locals plays a big part in the mood of the film. Not being able to communicate, especially in a situation of such panic and fear, adds to the tension of the story. Not only being in an unfamiliar place but not being able to communicate with the people. This is a common theme in our vacation themed movies and while some of this group knows Spanish, no one knew the language of the locals.
Another thing I find interesting about these movies is how trusting people are with people they do not know. Not sure I would just go off to some remote location with a couple of people you just met the night before drinking. Maybe I watch too many of these movies but it seems like common sense to me. But if they did not then we would not have fun films to watch.
For those who have not seen this movie I will not go into details of what the secret of the ruins is. The film is based on a best selling book and the screenplay was written by the author. For those who read the book the movie changes up what happens to which characters atop the ruins but with the same basic outcome. I found the movie to be enjoyable enough and well worth a watch. If you watch the full film it is very bloody and a bit stomach turning in spots.
Again, you will find some familiar faces in this one. My favorites being Joe Anderson (Across the Universe and The Crazies) and Shawn Ashmore (Smallville and a dozen or so other horror films). Horror films are so much more fun when there are some cute boys (or girls) to watch do stupid things.
The Ruins is available from most any DVD or streaming rental services.
Take a look at the original trailer. ***While the trailer does not give much away I would suggest not watching it if you would like to have no idea of what happens at the ruins before you watch it***
Some trivia about the movie.
1. The film rights were purchased before the novel was published.
2. Director Carter Smith had just purchased a copy of the Scott B. Smith novel and started reading it when he got the phone call offering him the film adaptation.
3. The character played by Shawn Ashmore wears a t-shirt with a symbol that resembles a bull's-eye. Director Carter Smith remarks on the DVD commentary that this was deliberate.
4. Ben Stiller was involved with this film because he is a friend of novelist / screenwriter Scott B. Smith.
5. The Greek characters, while present in the novel, were not originally included in the screenplay. Director Carter Smith convinced screenwriter Scott B. Smith to add them back into the story.
6. In the novel, there are no "ruins" to speak of, just a hill overgrown with the vines and the shaft cut into it. Director Carter Smith suggested changing it to an ancient Mayan temple, an idea with which writer Scott B. Smith agreed.