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Friday, June 24, 2022
Taking the long road to 'Ruins'

The Ruins: The sinister new thriller ,The Ruins"" puts a spin on the horror flick, building an intense film from a limited cast and daylight scenes.

Taking the long road to 'Ruins'

Flesh-eating plants induce more images of a cheesy 1980s musical (Little Shop of Horrors"") than those of blood-soaked psychological thrillers. 


Yet cast members of the upcoming horror flick ""The Ruins"" seem to think otherwise. The film, directed by Carter Smith and based on Scott B. Smith's novel bearing the same title, chronicles six 20-something friends quarantined in a Mexican jungle with a mystery involving killer plants that wriggle their way under the skin, literally. 


""It's really a survival story,"" ""Ruins"" co-star Shawn Ashmore said of the film. ""The thing that's really scary and really terrifying is watching these characters break down ... and get to a point where they will harm each other for survival."" 


Ashmore's co-star Jena Malone agreed. 


""It wasn't really about who these people were, but who they were going to turn into,"" she said. 


Malone and Ashmore, as well as co-star Laura Ramsey, said that ""The Ruins"" defies the conventions of the typical horror movie. 


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""You see a lot of horror films where it's just teenagers, and one is going to be killed off and you know it,"" Ashmore said. ""[In 'The Ruins'], you really sort of live with these characters and get to know them before anything awful happens."" 


Ashmore also pointed out that, unlike most horror films, much of the gore and violence takes place in broad daylight. 


""It's amazing because you can't hide from anything,"" he said. 


Ramsey and Malone agreed that a defining characteristic that sets the film apart from others within the genre is, surprisingly, that the plot is somewhat feasible. 


""I think personally the reason why it's more scary than other movies is because it has sort of a realistic factor to it,"" Ramsey said. ""You can sort of picture yourself being stranded somewhere."" 


Malone agreed. ""On the surface, without knowing anything about 'The Ruins,' you could think it's really unrealistic,"" she said. ""But what's going to surprise audiences is how realistic it truly is and how subtle it is and how humanistic it is and how it does feel like it's truly happening and unfolding in front of you."" 


In fact, according to Malone, the film's villain is not the plant with a taste for human blood. 


""The evil in the film is human nature, which is the most palpable and hard-to-accept villain in the world, but it's something we all deal with."" 


Malone and Ashmore both talked about the movie's success in conveying the essence of being human when left with no more devices than the instinct to survive. 


""When all those things are taken away from you, you become very basic, very animal,"" Ashmore said. 

The co-stars agreed that the stressful and intense plot of the film translated into the atmosphere on the set.  


""I actually had a blast, like I really, really had a good time making this movie,"" Ashmore said. ""But it was kind of like every day was life and death, like, you know, verge-of-tears hysterics."" 


Malone also had a vigorous experience on the set. 


""To be perfectly honest, I think I had a breakdown almost on every level,"" she said. ""Spiritually, emotionally, creatively. It was a lot of physical work and it was completely demanding, and I definitely crossed that line between is this real fear or is this character fear? Is this real pain, or is this character pain?""  


She added that the small cast of ""The Ruins"" made physical sacrifices to better empathize with their characters. 


""All the cast went on this sort of diet,"" she said. ""We weren't eating a lot and we were trying to sort of deprive ourselves of one singular thing to sort of understand the deprivation that the characters were going through."" 


And of course, being covered in blood helped blur the line between actor and character. 


""At one point I was almost covered completely in blood,"" Malone said. ""It's not as fun as it sounds, actually. It's actually quite a sticky, strange material that as soon as you put it on the skin, every time you move your hand, it feels like your skin is being ripped off of you."" 


Part of the film's intensity derives from the size of the cast, which, essentially, only employs six characters. Consequently, according to the actors, the close bonds between the characters in ""The Ruins"" also materialized among the actors portraying them. 


""We really, as a group, we became friends off set as well,"" Ramsey said. ""We were going to dinner after and discussing the next day scenes."" 


Ashmore agreed. ""I actually prefer to have sort of a smaller group of people because then you do have the ability to get to know people,"" he said. ""When you spend that much time with people that you don't know all that well right away, you form really intense friendships and bonds ... and that's kind of fun, like that's part of the adventure."" 






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