Take a group of Young Adults, preferably attractive ones, drop them into a Bad Situation, turn up the heat. It’s horror-by-numbers, but it works, dammit. The Ruins is highly watchable thanks in large part to its running time of 86 minutes. It's long enough to tell the story, short enough to keep its audience entertained. As horror premises go, it's irresistible. Our group of YAs find themselves trapped atop a temple in deepest Mexico, surrounded by superstitious locals ready to kill them if they attempt to escape, and trying to stave off the unwelcome attentions of the local plant life. The balance in The Ruins is tipped toward the red stuff more than the psychological, with a double amputation and some self-inflicted gouging with a knife by the Sexy Blonde Girl in Panties being two of its most visceral and memorable scenes. The special effects, particularly the gore, are above-par for this kind of movie, the performances likewise – to their credit all the actors play ‘scared’ convincingly well. The biggest star of the movie is the location; it’s simply stunning (Queensland, Australia doubling for Mexican jungle), and for that reason I regret not renting the movie on Blu-ray.
So, no big surprises and yes yes yes it's formulaic, but it’s a terrific example of a formula that works. You could do much worse than rent The Ruins.
12 hours ago