Or or: An ode to horror.
Please, everyone, silence your cell phones ...
Now, with a post title like "Or: Why did I watch this?", you might expect a little film snobbery, a little commentary on character development and plot and dialogue and all that, regarding the Spring 2008 horror flick The Ruins.
Except not here. For a horror film, The Ruins -- in which a few college kids make the mistake of visiting some ruins in a Mexican jungle -- actually does those three categories pretty well. Sure, that setup isn't exactly groundbreaking, but its dead-serious (and intense) execution keeps the eye rolling to a minimum (unlike your typical kids-in-trouble screamers). It's not mind-blowing by any stretch, but that quote on the poster says it all: You'll scream, squirm, cringe and bite your nails*.
*Although, to be honest, I personally would replace "scream" with "Squeeze your eyes tiiiiiight" and replace "nails" with "knuckles and bottom lip."
So let's recap: On story, character and dialogue, we'll call The Ruins average. The positives then, are that it makes you scream, squirm, cringe and bite nails -- all because of some excruciatingly involving scenes with, well, let's not go into too much detail.
So ... why would anyone watch this, again?
And yet, I did. And I'd watch it again. And I'd watch others like it. I will watch others like it. And I'm not alone.
There's just something about horror films. Some go too far, sure, and some are so mindless, derivative and/or excessive that they're not even fun.
But when a horror film gets things juuuuust right -- just enough plot, just-appealing-enough characters, just enough scares and cringe-worthy moments (and yes, gore) -- it can be as memorable as another genre that doesn't require plot/character development/any sense whatsoever: Comedy.
So we're forever keeping an eye out for the next one*.
*And no, another CGI-riddled PG-13 offering doesn't count.