Some vacations end not with a bang but with a whimper...
By Ned Jordan
The Ruins is the story of a vacation to Mexico that goes horribly wrong.
Four twenty-somethings are vacationing at a beach resort when they meet a young
German man investigating some of the local jungle ruins. When he offers
them the chance to accompany him to see some ruins that are not listed in the
guide books or placed on local maps, the group jumps at the chance. Soon
after arriving at the ruins, the decidedly unfriendly locals show up and
threaten to kill anyone who steps more than a few feet away from the ruins.
Trapped on top of the ruins and surrounded by the locals who maintain a 24 hour
vigil outside the ruins, the group of friends try to come up with a way out of
their predicament while slowly learning just what the locals fear about the
In spite of the intriguing setting and premise, The Ruins never manages to
deliver much in the way of suspense or tension. Although it delivers its
share of gore, most of this is self-inflicted by the group upon themselves.
This is a group of people that don't seem capable of making very many good
decisions in a crisis. It's hard to empathize with their pain in the same
way that it's difficult to feel sorry for a skateboarder who falls on his face
while trying to grind down a handrail on a staircase. The ultimate payoff
in the film is not quite as scary as it could or should be, simply because the
tension never mounts high enough to deliver a knockout blow. Instead of
sitting on the edge of your seat, you'll be slouched back into the couch
absentmindedly watching the misfortunate tourists do themselves in, much like
the natives who sit in vigil around the ruins.