The Ruins (2008)
Plot: The film follows four American friends on vacation in Cancún, Mexico. They meet a German tourist, Mathias, and he persuades them to join his hunt for his younger brother, Henrich, last seen headed off with a girl to some ruins she and her archaeological dig group are working on. The four soon regret their impulsive decision after they find the group missing, and the locals won’t allow them to leave. Based on the novel by Scott B. Smith.
My Review: I read the book shortly before the movie came out to theaters. I got into it not knowing anything about it, and I was really disappointed once I knew what it really was about. This is a spoiler, but its one I think everyone should know…the movie is about intelligent vines that kill people. Yes, killer plants.
Reviewing this now, so long after I read the book, I don’t really remember it much to compare. But I do recall that the ending was different, and roles were reversed by different characters. There was also a lot more to do with survival skills. Things that would have made the movie more interesting. They only show them rationing their food, booze and water. In the novel they start collecting urine and make things to catch rain for when they run out of the water and booze that they brought with them.
I can honestly say that the beginning of the book was boring but got more interesting. It took me a really long time to read it. But, when I saw the movie for the first time (this was my second viewing) I was upset that a lot of things were changed, or not included. Like a sex scene mentioned below.
There are a few things left unanswered. Or answered, but not well. Like, how do they make sure the vines don’t overgrow, or how do animals such as birds, come and spread the pollen. They just say they must have evolved to know better then to go there. The ending also leaves us with some questions of what happened after the screen went dark.
The idea of killer plants isn’t too too horrible, after all there are carnivorous plants out there in the world. Its what these plants can DO that makes the plot a little silly. But since it isn’t shown, or talked about till further into the movie I don’t really want to spoil it. All I can say is I thought it was lame.
For those curious about the ending of the novel, I had this written on Camp Blood’s forum, I thought I would share it here.
Gore/FX: Most of the gore is of the squeamish variety. If you don’t like movies where things burrow into skin, you might want to rethink this film. It isn’t that bad LOOKING. But the concept of something under my skin makes me a little more grossed out as opposed to seeing someone hacked up in a movie. There are some CGI effects which look pretty horrible. There is some mutilation and self mutilation in the movie.
Sexual Content: Boobs for a few seconds in the beginning. The book has one sexual scene that really comes into play with the vines. The movie leaves the scene out. I thought it was one of the more squeamish scenes in the novel. It involved the vines being attracted to the ejaculate of the two who’ve been in the tent together. If I recall correctly the vine goes into the guys penis. I had a feeling they’d leave that out of the film.
Acting: Jonathan Tucker who plays Jeff, might be more recognized by horror fans as Morgan from the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Awesome movie!). Jena Malone as Amy, she has that look to her, that I know her from something, but looking at her profile on IMDB I don’t recognize her from anything, and Shawn Ashmore (Eric) is from X-Men fame.
Overall: For a killer plant movie I suppose its not that bad. But only as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into!
View The Trailer