The Ruins really caught me by surprise. It may have followed the recent endangered college kids in a foreign country formula that was madly popularized by Hostel, but it is its clever pacing and unexpected antagonist that separated it from the pack and made it a lot better than your average scary movie.
Two college couples are vacationing in Mexico and before they return to the States, they decided to visit some old ruins in the middle of nowhere with the help of a newfound friend. Little do they know that they would be spending the last moments of their lives there. The brilliance of the movie is the escalating horror that awaits these characters. The pacing is deliberately slow but the sense of urgency and dread never leaves the screen as soon as the youngsters arrived at the ruins. The situation feels real and the interactions between the characters are believable. Once the evil that haunted the ruins is finally revealed in a devastating, unforgettable, and powerful scene, all hell breaks loose and the film takes the premise to frightening heights.
That rope leads to a very scary place.
Hopefully The Ruins will inspire more filmmakers to take some chances and produce unusual tales such as the one told here. Its classical approach to horror by combining raw emotions, layered storytelling, and effective gore is a rare find these days. It's definitely far superior to The Descent or even Cabin Fever. That should tell you how special this movie really is.
RATING: 4 out of 5