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There is a song from the musical version of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS that probably summed up the central message of THE RUINS ($40) best- donít feed the plants! That said; THE RUINS is a thoroughly entertaining, gory, horror squirm-fest that involves some carnivorous plants that will literally get under your skin. The premise of THE RUINS finds four young American tourists enjoying a holiday at a Mexican seaside resort. However, an encounter with a couple of European tourists leads them off the beaten path, to go sightseeing in the Mexican jungles, where the ruins of an ancient Mayan pyramid await.

Of course, our young protagonists ignore the number one danger sign- the reluctance of the nearby Mexican townsfolk to drive them out near the ruins, so they still make their way out into the jungle. Upon arriving at their destination, our group of tourists find themselves besieged by the Mayan caretakersí of the ruins, who drive them up onto the pyramid and refuse to allow them to leave. It doesnít take long for the group to discover why the natives wonít let them leave- the flowering vines that have overgrown the pyramid are a whole lot more dangerous than they would seem. Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Laura Ramsey, Shawn Ashmore, Joe Anderson and Dimitri Baveas portray our attractive, if somewhat dimwitted, tourists.

Dreamworks Home Entertainment has made THE RUINS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is pretty much first rate and makes the most of the filmís slightly overripe cinematography. The picture is wonderfully sharp and delivers excellent level of fine detail- even the gore is more grisly in hi-def. Also, the picture is highly dimensional and lush looking. Hues tend to be very strong and very vibrant, plus the flesh tones are healthy and appealing. Blacks are inky and whites are completely stable. The picture has intentional high contrast look that approaches being slightly blown out, but never goes over the edge. Shadow detail is generally excellent. The elements from which THE RUINS have been transferred are from defects. A fine film grain is usually present and provides a film-like quality for the presentation.

THE RUINS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Because of its jungle setting, THE RUINS features a more atmospheric, than active sounds design. Sure, there are moments when active directional effects are deployed, but for the most part the outlying channels are utilized to create living sonic environments. The lossless encoding creates very strong sense of presence, which benefits the natural and not quite so natural sound effects. As for the bass channel, it adds depth and weight to the sound effects. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles have been included.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Director Carter Smith and Editor Jeff Betancourt are on hand to provide a running Audio Commentary. Hi-def Featurettes include Making The Ruins (fourteen minutes), Creeping Death (fifteen minutes) and Building The Ruins (six minutes). Deleted Scenes with optional commentary and a Theatrical Trailer close out the supplements.

THE RUINS is definitely a gory, squirm in your seat horror outing that will come as a nice change of pace for genre buffs. Additionally, Dreamworks Blu-ray release looks and sound terrific.



The Ruins (Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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