81: The Ruins

The Ruins – April 4, 2008
Starring: Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Jonathan Tucker, , Joe Anderson
Written by: Scott B. Smith
Directed by: Carter Smith

The plot: “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.” – IMDB

My thoughts: Okay, so naturally, it’s a group for four young, attractive American people who succumb to an ancient curse in a foreign country thanks in large part to their ignorance and sense of entitlement. Color me surprised. It probably is one of the more annoying things about the film.

Regardless, the movie was…it was okay. Ultimately, I can’t help but thinking that The Ruins is what The Happening should have been. Considering the fact that this movie has been out for four years and spoiling it for you won’t ruin your life (I doubt it’s something you’ve been really meaning to watch for years), I’m going to go ahead and divulge the plot and “twist”. On top and surrounding these ruins is a whole bunch of crazy lookin’ vines (props to the art department for finding or making those vines because they even looked threatening). One of the American girls unwittingly steps into the vines and then a guy follows her and emerges from the vines when a bunch of a Mayan people start shouting at him. He keeps walking closer to them so they shoot him with arrows and then a gun. The American kids freak out and run up steps to the top of the ruins.

Jena Malone, playing an especially emotional and whiny girl goes back down after a while and start screaming them. In a fit of 22-year-old “I don’t speak Mayan! I speak Eng-glish. ENG-GLISH” rage, she grabs a clump of vine and throws it, hitting a young boy. The Mayans freak out and the kid is crying and finally, they shoot him in the face.

THE VINES! THEY MAYANS ARE QUARANTINING US! But they’re just vines. OH WAIT, they’re snaking their way up in our open wounds and getting inside of us.

So these vines are carnivorous and/or blood-thirsty. At one point, one guy who had a mishap and is paralyzed (and they decide to cut his legs off) has his now amputated shins and feet dragged away by the plants. It was actually a little creepy.

Anyway, the point is that this made me more afraid of plants than the happening. They were moving and getting inside people. It fully embedded itself in a girl who kept saying “It’s inside me!” and of course, no one believed her until they could see it in her skin, so they had to cut her up and pull the plants out of her.

Perhaps one of the more horrific twists in the movie is when everyone keeps hearing a ringing cellphone. It sounds like it’s coming from the well on top of the ruins so they descend to investigate. After a while they realize that there is no cellphone but that the flower part of the vines is emitting that sound, replicating it perfectly.

I give props to this movie and all of its good parts to Scott B. Smith and his awesome short story and adaptation of his own story. It’s a weird little story that doesn’t truly get a happy ending. It wasn’t amazing but I was intrigued for two hours and didn’t feel any regret over watching it.

Stars: 3/5

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