Never underestimate the power of a horror movie’s afterlife. 15 years after it bombed in U.S. theaters, a little-known movie starring Jena Malone and Shawn Ashmore has become the most popular movie on Netflix in the U.K. (And it’s not even streaming on the service in the U.S!)
At time of writing, The Ruins — a 2008 movie directed by little-known director Carter Smith, and executive produced by Ben Stiller, of all people — is the most-watched movie on Netflix in the United Kingdom. The movie, adapted by Scott B. Smith from his novel of the same name, is centered around what happens to four friends as they visit a Mayan ruin while on vacation in Mexico. Unfortunately, the ruin is infested by a mysterious vine, which is where the problems begin…
When initially released in April 2008, The Ruins was a critical and commercial flop, failing to earn back its $25 million budget and criticized for its screenplay and reliance on gore; it currently sits at 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, with audiences scoring it even less favorably at 30%. Notably, however, a number of respected critics bucked the trend and praised the movie: The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw praised its “amoral chaos” and described it as “enjoyably freaky business,” for example.
Audiences in the U.K. clearly lean towards the latter attitude, with the movie topping Netflix charts for that era. American audiences wanting the chance to offer the same kind of re-evaluation won’t be able to find the movie on Netflix, however. Instead, it’s streaming on Paramount+ over here.
This isn’t the first time that Netflix licensing deals have meant that what’s topping the charts elsewhere in the world isn’t available in the U.S.. Last year saw global audiences falling for the charms of The In Between, but once again, it wasn’t streaming on Netflix in America… instead, it was, again, on Paramount+. Blame the strange world of licensing agreements between streamers internationally — Prime Video carries Paramount+’s Star Trek shows for much of the U.S., for example — or, instead, go find The Ruins wherever it’s streaming in your part of the world and dig into some creepy, vine-ridden horror.
You know what is available on Netflix internationally? One Piece.