A Dismal, Empty Effort, 30 June 2009
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is Director Carter Smith’s debut full length feature and that inexperience destroys this film.87 minutes is the ideal running time for a Horror, but in truth there is barely half an hour’s worth of material here. The premise of the story, the eponymous novel by Scott Smith is simple and fine. But Carter Smith is wholly unable to translate the layered horror of the page onto the screen.
The Ruins follows two American couples, just out of college, enjoying a pleasant, lazy beach holiday together in Mexico as they go off with new found friends in search of some remote Mayan ruins, site of a fabled archaeological dig.However the characters are underwritten, and the performances lack depth. Frankly we don’t care whether they live or die.
Once stranded on the Temple, a relatively small pyramid style structure, there quite literally isn’t anywhere to go, and as this happens early on in the film this is a problem.Graphic, horror gore quickly replaces plot in order to create any impact or momentum.The basic Horror principles that what you don’t see is more horrific than what you do see, as is the threat of what MIGHT come, are eschewed out of sheer desperation.
The climax to the story is so clichéd all dramatic tension is lost and the final frame would have been thrown contemptuously aside by the Tutor of a first year film studies student.Lush photography and a fine setting do not compensate for a feature length failure