US (dir. Carter Smith)
Cast: Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, Joe Anderson, Dimitri Baveas, Sergio Calderón
Synopsis: A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins.
Review: DVD Special Features Review (September 2010)
My UNRATED!!!!!! DVD of “The Ruins” claims to have scenes that are, and I quote, “TOO INTENSE FOR THEATRES!” (OMG!). Hype aside, the DVD comes fully loaded with some pretty great special features. Now there definitely aren’t o many features that you could spend a whole day watching them all, but just enough to really get you into all the behind-the-scenes stuff. If you were one of the few people who saw this movie and liked it, than this DVD definitely has sufficient features to merit a purchase. To sum it up, there is a director’s commentary with director Carter Smith and editor Jeff Betancourt, 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes, 3 deleted scenes (with commentary), a never-before-seen alternate ending (also with commentary), the original theatrical ending, and… more. Unfortunately the and more turned out to just be a trailer for the film and a few others. But overall, I’d say you get a fair bit o’stuff on this DVD.
The commentary track with the director and editor of “The Ruins” proves to be more informative than entertaining. There are few anecdotes or funny stories about stuff that happened on set, and I really wish they had one of the actors pitch in on the commentary just to add some humour or first-hand perspective on the filming process. So while informative and extremely thorough, the commentary track can be a bit dull at times if you consider how much time the director and editor really spend discussing the technical aspects of the filming process.
The three behind-the-scenes featurettes include a segment on how the movie was made (“Making ‘The Ruins'”), a segment on how the plants and prosthetic pieces were created (“Creeping Death”) and a segment on how the temple was constructed (“Building the Ruins”). Each segment is incredibly in-depth, showing you how virtually everything from the movie, from the design of the plant leaves to the construction of the temple, was conceived, created, and filmed. There is also a very thorough discussion on how the amputation scene was filmed, and the attention to detail involved in creating the leg prosthetic (once it is revealed how the entire scene was filmed) is incredible. Virtually everything and anything you’d ever need to know about how “The Ruins” was filmed is included in these 3 featurettes, and “Making the Ruins” even has actor participation in the form of mini-interviews. The behind-the-scenes featurettes are truly comprehensive and definitely make picking up the DVD more than worth it.
The deleted scenes (available with or without commentary by the director and editor) include a scene where it actually rained during the plant victims ordeal on top of the temple, causing a small, drunken celebration interrupted by Mathias’ death. There’s also a quiet love scene, likely the only one that would have been in the movie, where Jeff and Amy discuss escaping though Jeff is shown to be infected. A crappy alternate ending shows that the plants from the ruins have escaped to America via the bodies of their American victims. Luckily that ending was trashed in favour of just a generally downbeat ending where Amy escapes only to be infected (theatrical ending).
Overall, the DVD features were impressive, making the DVD of “The Ruins” definitely worth picking up if you were one of the 5 people who saw this movie or actually heard about it before it disappeared in theatres.