By all accounts, we’re in a Golden Age for horror movies right now: Jordan Peele’s original nightmares keep breaking records, A24 is putting out some of the best films of our time alongside some of the most fucked-up, and there’s seemingly a new Stephen King adaptation getting released every other week at this point.
No one can quite point to when the last period of prestige horror ended (it did, though), but the genre didn’t exactly have nearly the kind of audience, reputation, and budgets it does now. So, during horror’s dark ages, what flew under the radar? What did the genre snobs watch while everyone was investing in Tom Cruise thrillers? In Fright Place, Wrong Time, we’ll look at a new scary movie each week, from the well-known to the hidden gems, and see if great horror really was around the whole time, or whether we were right to ignore it when we did.
The Ruins (2008)
The Ruins never stood a chance of being a runaway hit, but it’s enjoyed a growing appreciation over the years. It’s a simple little film but gets nasty, with more creative and disturbing body horror than the kind that a lot of other films were selling in 2008. Set in the heart of a Mexican jungle at an ancient Mayan ruin, it’s a mostly single-location nightmare that reveals itself as a nifty little genre film with some truly gross parts along the way.
So, the bad: Its meat-and-potatoes approach to its characters isn’t going to win over anyone looking for a “film.” I’ve seen this movie at least three times, gleefully taking in every gory detail, and I still couldn’t tell you anyone’s names here. Becca, probably? Is there a James?
No, just checked and our doomed teens are Amy, Jeff, Stacy, Eric, and Matthias. As soon as they set foot on the crumbling, vine-covered temple, they’re surrounded by furious, fearful locals with guns, bows, and arrows, who, instead of warding the kids away, close in and demand they move deeper into the ruins. Odd.
The Ruins then becomes a kind of desert island film. They can’t set foot off the temple (they’ll be killed) and as resources go scarce and Matthias gets an injury while trying spelunking in the giant hole in the middle of the temple, the situation becomes dire. That’s before the film’s main threat/villain reveals itself, and we really get going: The vines that absolutely cover the ruins not only subside on blood, but are quite a bit smarter than your average houseplant. Hell, I don’t even know how Venus fly traps really work.
Source : Tom Philip Link