Atop a mysterious Maya temple, young vacationers find themselves trapped. From there, the movie goes nowhere.
Next thing they know, there are locals with guns and bows-and-arrows forcing them to remain atop the ruins, and they have to amputate a fellow traveler's legs using a found knife and a hot frying pan. Then things get really bad.
Not even a fixer-upper, "The Ruins" should be considered a complete tear-down.
Though these might seem like arcane or somewhat fanciful reactions, when a film is as depressingly inert and blithely gruesome as "The Ruins," the mind does wander.
'Ruins' will make you squirm
The Mayans seem particularly unfriendly, so the AYPs take refuge at the top of the pyramid. There they learn they have more to fear from the evil entity than members of a long-extinct civilization.
The bulk of the film's setting, the top of the pyramid, eventually works against the movie. It is simply too confined a space and offers too little variety. With too little to do, the characters wind up having dull conversations that only detract from the tension.
Offsetting that problem is the evil entity, which has one extremely cool aural twist and which manifests its danger in intriguing ways. The gory parts, it should be noted, are initiated by the characters themselves, though always with good reason.
The acting is as good as it needs to be, which isn't saying a whole lot, but the actors all express fear well enough.
They may not be able to transfer that fear to the audience, but the idea of the story and the well-handled gore create a high level of the desired ickiness.
I don't know if the "evil entity" is controlling the Maya, but they sound like cardboard characters at best, villains at worst. In any case, it seems the Maya civilization is the source of the evil.
Wouldn't it be nice if, just once, a group of young Indians saved the world from an Anglo curse?
For films you should watch instead of The Ruins, see The Best Indian Movies.