The Ruins

Sunday, July 13, 2008
Don't waste your time.

Sadly, this was one of the movies I was looking forward to seeing this year. Unlike a lot of people, SME included, I enjoyed the book version. For me it was a nice light mindless piece of fluff that kept me entertained for a few days - interesting premise, a not very happy ending (yay!) and quick paced. Sometimes it's just what you need. How could they possibly screw this up? It was perfect fodder for a trashy horror movie. And yet, they did.

For those of you who haven't read the book, seen the movie, glimpsed the previews, or even heard of it, the story is pretty simple: four college aged Americans on vacation in Mexico meet up with a German tourist who convinces them to join him on a day trip to a secret Mayan temple hidden deep within the jungle. Seems his brother took off with a hot female archaeologist and hasn't returned as scheduled. However, when they arrive, there's no sign of the brother or the archaeologist. Just a temple covered with flesh eating vines and a village full of hostile locals who won't let the group leave. Pretty nifty.

The book, I thought, was pretty decent but the movie version? Where to begin. To start with, they changed just about everything. Let me correct that: they kept just about everything that happens in the book (with the exception of the ending...don't even get me started on that one). What they did change though was what happened to whom and when. They killed off people earlier than in the book, things happened to the wrong people and in the wrong order, and it just didn't work. There were reasons behind much of what happens to each of the characters in the book that, because of the changes in the movie, don't get explored and as a result the movie is lacking. The vine's ability to imitate sound is only touched on and in the book it's a major point in the plot. Essentially while the movie is, on the surface, true to the novel of the same name, The Ruins is a big miss.

Movie version: NOT Captain Recommended

Book version: mindless summer reading - better than the movie. Recommended only if you don't have to actually buy a copy.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I was never going to see this film and your review made me remember why.

SME said...

Strange. The book really was tailor-made for a screenplay, they didn't have to change a thing.

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