April 4th, 2008

THE RUINS (2008) ***

Four Americans go down to Mexico and head off into the jungle to check out some ancient Mayan ruins.  They come in contact with a mysterious cursed plant and the bat shit locals won’t let them leave the pyramid.  Meanwhile there’s a bunch of man eating vines that TALK that start chowing down on the Americanos.  But these ain’t no ordinary man eating talking plants.  Uh-uh.  These suckers like to get INSIDE of your body and eat you from the inside out.  Calamine lotion won’t work on these bad boys.  No sirree.  


So what we’re basically looking at here is Turistas Meets Little Shop of Horrors. 


The Ruins is a solid little horror flick that never quite fires on all cylinders but it definitely has it’s moments.  There are plenty of gnarly scenes where the tourists have to perform self surgery by cutting themselves open to pull the quivering vines out of their bodies, but the standout moment comes when the med student hero has to amputate BOTH legs off a Kraut with a Ginsu Knife before cauterizing the wounds with a frying pan.  The film also features the best bloody-surprise-in-a-sleeping-bag scene since Cabin Fever. 


Yeah the tourists (including Jena Malone from Donnie Darko and Iceman from the X-Men movies) are all fairly stupid and pretty much deserve what’s coming to ‘em, but the acting isn’t as bad as you might think.  The Get On With It Factor is kinda high as it takes quite awhile for the plants to start eating from the human Sizzler buffet, but by the time the blonde bimbo starts hacking off slabs of meat from her own leg, you will have completely forgotten about the film’s slowish first half. 


Scott Smith wrote the screenplay, based on his novel and was also responsible for the classic A Simple Plan. 


The Ruins offers enough gore and female skin to warrant the Number 3 spot on the Video Vacuum Top Ten for ’08, edging out Drillbit Taylor and resting comfortably under Doomsday.