The Ruins follows a group of vacationing friends who visit a remote archaeological dig in the Mexican jungle and are quickly entangled in a brutal struggle for survival against the evils hidden within — isn’t it funny how you can make the biggest load of hogwash sound good?
As far as horrors go, well this is the usual. A bunch of college kids go off on an adventure and it all goes horribly wrong. Although this time, rather than a knife-wielding maniac or a dodgy ghost, we have plants that like to eat humans. The Ruins has absolutely no twists and turns, apart from the delightful man-eating vine. The cast is a bunch of actors you’ll probably never see again (or want to) and if it wasn’t for the lessons in quite disgusting amateur surgery — as so aptly put by a colleague of mine — then it would be as boring as buggery. At times one is almost transported to Alice in Wonderland as the little red flowers of said man-eating vine replicate human sounds. I wondered when the Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter might appear to actually provide me with some proper entertainment. Perhaps Tweedledee and Tweedledum could have spiced things up a bit with a comedy sketch?
The cast is mediocre — all they do is scream, groan, cry or get killed. The publicists tried promoting them as a “very sexy cast, but not typically ‘Hollywood’. They don’t look like everyone else.” Er, sorry, but everything in this movie smacks of all the typical Hollywood bollocks you would expect from this genre. There aren’t even any decent moments that make you jump and the soundtrack made such an impression I can’t remember it. The Ruins really is not worth bothering with, unless you’re such a horror movie fiend that you feel the need to watch it for contrast and comparison purposes. If you’re 16 and trying to fake your age because it’s exciting to watch a movie you’re not supposed to and you don’t want to take up smoking, perhaps invest in Big Mac. That would be much more fun. The quote of the film has to be: “We’re four white Americans, of course they’ll find us.” Actually, no, they won’t.
EXTRAS ** Deleted scenes, including an alternative (and better) ending; an audio commentary with director Carter Smith and editor Jeff Betancourt; a making-of featurette; a featurette about the killer vine; a featurette about building the set; the theatrical trailer.