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The Underrated 2008 Horror Movie Getting A Second Life On Netflix

The streaming age has given movies that once flew under the radar a second lease on life, enabling them to find a new audience. This is especially true for horror movie flops, as evidenced by "Ghost Ship" sailing to success on HBO Max and "Prom Night" becoming a Netflix queen. Now, the latter streaming service has unearthed another gem from obscurity, as "The Ruins" currently sits in 10th place on the global charts, according to FlixPatrol.

The gory chiller, directed by Carter Smith and adapted from a novel by Scott Smith, tells the story of a group of college students who encounter more than they bargained for after discovering a temple in the Mexican jungle. The film is part of the tourist-in-peril subgenre that was popular in the 2000s thanks to the success of "Hostel" and "Wolf Creek." However, while those flicks focus on psychotic killers, "The Ruins" stands out from the pack by making deadly vines its central menace.

"The Ruins" isn't ranked as one of the best horror movies of all time, but horror fans on Netflix are gravitating toward it, suggesting that its poor box office performance and middling critical reviews were unfair at the time of its release. However, fans might also be interested in learning that the film was almost much darker. 

The Ruins' alternate ending changes everything

The theatrical cut of "The Ruins" ends on a somewhat hopeful note as far as horror movies go. Even though her friends all die, Amy (Jena Malone) escapes the terror to fight another day. However, at one point, Carter Smith considered honoring the source material, which concludes with another character, Stacy (Lauren Ramsey), taking her own life, hoping that the sight of her corpse will prevent people from encountering a similar fate. Her self-sacrifice is pointless, though, as the evil drags her body away and out of sight.

While speaking to the Miami Herald, the director explained why the film opted for a different conclusion, noting that viewers probably needed some respite. "I love the ending of the book, but if the movie had ended the same way, the audience would have wanted to kill themselves," Smith said (via Digital Spy).

Despite Smith's initial reluctance to inflict more misery on viewers, however, the film's unrated cut is also pessimistic. In this one, Amy still manages to get away, only for vines to appear on her face, showing that she's become infected. A deleted scene featuring her gravestone reveals that she eventually succumbs to her gruesome fate, proving that nothing can defeat the horror that dwells in the jungle.