Director: Carter Smith.
Based on: The Ruins by Scott Smith
Starring: Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, Joe Anderson. USA/Australia. 1h 30m.
A group of friends, two couples and a guy they meet Dimitri, who’s looking for his brother, decide to go to an unmarked part of Mexico to look at some ruins near the end of their amazing vacation. The new friend’s brother had gone out to the site only the day before, so he leads them to the Ruins. Within moments of reaching the site a group of pissed off locals turn up, threatening the group with violence, Dimitri attempts to reason with them but they brutally shoot and kill him, the rest retreat to the top of the ruins they came to visit.
At the top of the Aztec style structure they find it’s covered in vines and there is a opening, they attempt to go down into dig site as they can hear a phone ringing and assume it’s Dimitri’s brother’s, and unable to get a signal they need the phone as it seems to be getting a signal, this is when tragedy strikes again and one of them is injured and paralyzed. It soon becomes apparent that the cute vines that cover the structure are the reason why the locals are acting so skittish. They have been quarantined, as unwilling sacrifices to this unusual flora. It’s malevolence is unmetered and it’s attacks are gory and horrific, these kids really don’t know what shit they have gotten themselves into.
Terror has evolved.
Starting out with some brilliant brutal action at the beginning but slows down once the kids have to work out what they up against. The vine is great when it comes to creative movie monsters, we’ve had a few killer plants, from Little Shop of Horrors to The Creeping Vine from Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, but this plant is sinister and the effects are bloody and gory, some of it comes across as cliche and are expected but there isn’t a huge expansion of new ideas and the film seems to stagnate. The body horror and shocks are skillfully created and the effects, mostly CGI are expertly created but just nothing really groundbreaking.
It’s a goofy little horror, with lots of body shocks, it will pass the time but fails to expand on what is a tantalising creature concept, I’ve not read the book but I’d imagine there is also a lack of expansion on the setting as it felt too claustrophobic and for no apparent reason. The characters were a little 2 dimensional, just literally cannon fodder with no personality.
An alternative ending proves to be much more exciting than the rest of the film and while it’s not brilliant it’s an ok gorefest, despite doing well at the cinema the film has never really won a huge fanbase and I’m surprised not to see more from the director.
R – Cabin Fever (2002), Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Little Shop of Horrors (1960/86),