On the last day of their Mexican vacation, two sexy, obnoxiously overprivileged post-collegiate couples pay a visit to a Mayan pyramid. At the foot of the ruins, they’re surrounded by locals who threaten them with machetes and guns and bows and arrows — but once they scurry to the top, they realize that they’re being forced into quarantine. The real threat is the pyramid’s evil twisty killer vines, which sprout what look like oversize, mildewed marijuana leaves and invade the body like IV drips from hell. Adapted from a much scarier novel by Scott Smith (A Simple Plan), The Ruins is lumpish, static, and obvious. It’s a gringos-go-home cautionary fright flick done in the spirit of a cheap ’50s horror movie, except that it leaves you longing for the competence of grade-Z studio-system trash. The film barely comes to life outside of several gory mutilation scenes, including one shockingly gratuitous double-leg amputation performed as a desperate act of survival — an unnecessary effort, really, given how little the audience has invested in whether any of these chuckleheads lives or dies. C-
Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Horror; Starring: Jena Malone, Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey; Director: Carter Smith; Author: Scott B. Smith; Release Date Wide: 04/04/2008; Runtime (in minutes): 91; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Paramount Studios
Posted January 17 2015 — 10:36 AM EST
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