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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “The Ruins (Unrated)”

(Dreamworks Home Entertainment. 2008. 1 hour, 33 minutes. Unrated. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Carter Smith.) Jonathan Tucker (Jeff), Jena Malone (Amy), Shawn Ashmore (Eric), Laura Ramsey (Stacy), Joe Anderson (Mathias). Music by Graeme Revell.

Four college students vacationing in Mexico are led to some ancient Mayan ruins by a German tour guide, only to be trapped there by a group of natives. However, the longer they stay on this plant-covered ruin, the more they realize that they’re not alone. I don’t want to spoil things, but I will say that much of your mileage from this movie will depend on how well you can accept the main villain. Personally, I thought it was pretty ridiculous and not all that scary. That aside, while this movie includes its requisite disgusting moments, it does take a stab at psychological horror, as the four start turning on each other when conditions deteriorate. The one fatal hinderance is that I don’t care about the characters at all, since they are all paper-thin and disposable. The actors do a fine job with what little they’re given, but they can only do so much. On the technical side, the special effects are squirm-inducing, the scenery is beautiful and the photography is very nice. Special features include several behind-the-scenes featurettes, 3 deleted scenes, a commentary track by the director and an alternate ending (which makes less sense than the original). A passable, if lackluster, first effort from Mr. Smith.