Vince Valitutti
Owen Gleiberman
April 04, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Ruins

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
91 minutes
Wide Release Date
04/04/08
performer
Jena Malone, Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey
director
Carter Smith
distributor
Paramount Studios
author
Scott B. Smith
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Horror

We gave it a C-

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-

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