Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Vacation That Really Gets Under Your Skin, or Thoughts on The Ruins

From the best selling 2006 novel of the same name by Scott Smith, The Ruins (2008) is a cautionary tale about what happens when a pair of attractive American couples stray off the path and leave their Mexican resort hotel in search of an authentic experience.  When they are invited to join an archeological dig of a newly discovered Mayan pyramid deep in the jungle they leap at the chance.  They’re warned away at every step but once they get there, the angry villagers won’t allow them to leave, to the point of shooting at them with arrows and actually killing one of them.  All of this happens in the first 20 minutes.  The nightmare goes from bad to worse as they slowly realize why they are trapped in the ruins; it’s overgrown with a particularly nasty vine with a taste for human flesh.
An old-fashioned bio-horror thriller reminiscent of early  Cronenberg and updated with grisly scenes of panicked auto-surgery, The Ruins explores the fear of infection and the general tourist anxiety of being far away from home and out of control.  In that way the movie is no different than, say, Wolf Creek (2005), The Descent (2005) and especially Turistas  (2005), although with the threat being natural in origin a more relevant comparison would be to The Day of the Triffids (1962)The Happening (2008) and even Attackof the Killer Tomatoes (1978).  I was reminded of a favorite Clive Barker story, How Spoilers Bleed (1984), which had a similar premise.
Watch out for Jena Malone from Donnie Darko (2001) and The Neon Demon(2016) as Amy.  She doesn’t have the best vacation, but it’s one she’ll never forget.




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).