Length: 91 minutes
Director: Carter Smith (Me and Max; Bugcrush)
Writer: Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan)
Starring: Jena Malone, Laura Ramsey, Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore, Joe Anderson, Dimitri Baveas
Two things struck me as very odd about this movie right off the bat. One is that Ben Stiller is one of the producers. Not to pigeonhole Stiller in the comedy zone or anything. Anyone that has seen his brilliant work in “Permanent Midnight” knows Stiller has range and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him branch out to try different projects (even as a producer). The second thing was that this is the first script Scott B. Smith has written since his Oscar nominated adaptation of his novel, “A Simple Plan”, way back in 1998. These two things are very odd considering how terrible the film, “The Ruins”, is. It is based on a novel by Smith that I can only hope to imagine was decent and somehow just got lost in the translation by this Carter Smith fellow that directed (didn’t see any relation link between the two Smiths in my limited research). “The Ruins” is not a terrible movie due to any kind of ‘been there, seen that’ kind of aspect, but just because it is a mess. It’s a horror movie that isn’t even sure what it wants you to be scared of. A group of college kids vacationing in Mexico run into a dashing German tourist (Joe Anderson) on the second to last day of their vacation. The tourist tells them of a ruins that is a big secret that a couple of his friends went to visit. It must have been a blast because his friends still haven’t come back yet. Despite the reluctance of Amy (“Donnie Darko”’s Jena Malone), the group agrees to accompany the German to the ruins the following day to see what all the fuss is about. They arrive and find things are immediately wrong and end up trapped a top the ruins while a gang of Mexicans armed with guns surround them. Apparently, once you step on the ruins these gun toting Mexicans don’t want you to step off them. I’ll leave it at that, because if for some strange reason you do decide to see this movie I don’t want to spoil the “scares” for you. Let’s just say if you think nature could make an interesting monster than you might be interested. I think nature could make an interesting monster, but the filmmakers decide not to do much of anything with it. In between the scary bits (which are too far and between), the film relies way too much on a group of boring characters that having boring conversations about what they are going to do to survive. Ben Stiller and Scott B. Smith are obviously both very talented individuals. It’s a shame that their collaboration couldn’t have resulted in something worthwhile.
Download Soundtrack MP3:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Phenomena
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