Friday, April 11, 2008


I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a total sucker for a good cinematic thrill, whether it's action, horror, thriller or some combination of the three. The same is true for books. I'm guilty of reading just as many low-brow fiction novels as high-brow. So when The Ruins came out in paperback, I snatched it up because I had heard it was a good read ("if you are into that sort of thing.") Indeed, it was a good read. It was the kind of book that was pretty hard to put down and an easy book to barrel through. I wasn't surprised when I saw a trailer for the film adaptation of The Ruins. The book has screenplay written all over it. If done right it could be an interesting film, and needless to say, if done wrong it could be really really bad.

I am here to report what is now probably pretty obvious: The Ruins is not very good. Hollywood takes the book by the throat and does its traditional shakedown, discarding anything subtle or interesting. Living carnivorous vines is really not that much of a stretch, but with an overt script and blatant special effects it becomes pretty silly very quickly. Everything discarded from the book is meant to move the plot along, but it does just the opposite, giving the viewer little of no identification with these characters and their plight. The nature of this production is epitomized by the formulaic needs to spill blood sooner, to change the hysteric from a man to a woman, and to allow someone to survive. Perhaps it is unfair to compare the book to the film, but without the book The Ruins is a total disaster.

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