Horror review: The Ruins

The_Ruins

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 9, 2008

The Ruins is a horror flick about deadly, creeping vines that attack tourists at a Mayan temple in Mexico. It is based on a novel by Scott B. Smith, who also wrote the screenplay and who previously garnered an Oscar nomination for adapting his first novel, A Simple Plan.

You’d think a guy whose career kicked off so brilliantly might be able to figure out that foliage isn’t all that scary.

Jonathan Tucker of TV’s The Black Donnellys, Into the Wild’s Jena Malone, The Covenant’s Laura Ramsey, and Richmond-born Shawn Ashmore play college-age Americans on vacation at a Mexican resort (Australia, actually) who meet up poolside with a charming German traveller named Mathias (Across the Universe’s Joe Anderson). He suggests the two couples join him and a Greek friend on a day trip to an archaeological dig at some ruins that can’t be found in the guidebooks. “As long as we’re back by make-your-own-taco night,” quips one of the happy-go-lucky Yanks.

Somehow you just know that this dude has tasted his last jalapeño.

The minute they get to the ruins, some menacing local villagers arrive on horseback, force the outsiders to scamper to the top of the temple, and keep them trapped there. Soon after, Mathias suffers a nasty fall, and the rest of the film revolves around the vine-oriented carnage that befalls him and the others.

Let’s just say that a severely broken back is the least of his worries.

The acting from the five main characters isn’t nearly as bad as you might expect, but the plot is so utterly ridiculous that it may as well be. The only memorable aspect of The Ruins is the gore, which was substantial enough to garner the cover of the latest Fangoria.

But who really needs to see some guy slice into a woman’s lower back, dig around in there with his fingers, and then reel in a four-foot length of tapewormlike vine? I mean, really.

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