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The Ruins

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
‘So, what do you guys think: ancient Mayan temple off the beaten path?’ Anyone who’s read ‘The Beach’ or seen ‘Turistas’, in which backpackers visit places that aren’t in the guide books, knows these are fateful words. Blissfully unaware of this, best friends Amy (Jena Malone) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey), and their respective boyfriends Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) and Eric (Shawn Ashmore), trek through the jungle to some remote ruins on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The foursome’s rough guides are German tourist Matias (Joe Anderson) and his Greek friend Dimitri, the former of whom has a copy of an old map – never a good sign – and is searching for his missing brother. As soon as they arrive at the ruins, which are wreathed in creeping vines, the temple is surrounded by hostile locals, who set up camp and won’t let them leave. What the kids don’t yet know is that the vines are the real threat; but pretty soon the plants’ invasive tendrils get under their skin.

While it’s hard to take entirely seriously a film in which the vibrating stamens of red vine flowers are able to mimic the sound of a mobile phone, it must be said scriptwriter Scott Smith’s adaptation of his own novel plays the ‘survival’ and ‘body’ horror absolutely straight. The crude amputations, bodily invasions and feverish flesh-slicing turn one’s stomach, but there’s a more insidious psychological horror that eats into one’s mind. Director Carter Smith, whose flesh-crawling short film ‘Bugcrush’ established his own ‘body horror’ credentials, also taps into the paranoia and disintegrating group dynamics found in Eli Roth’s flesh-eating virus movie, ‘Cabin Fever’.
Written by Nigel Floyd

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 20 June 2008
  • Duration:90 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Carter Smith
  • Screenwriter:Scott B Smith
  • Cast:
    • Laura Ramsey
    • Shawn Ashmore
    • Jonathan Tucker
    • Joe Anderson
    • Jena Malone
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