More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.07%
Worth A Look33.93%
Average: 21.43%
Pretty Bad: 3.57%
Total Crap: 25%

6 reviews, 20 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Shirley by Peter Sobczynski

Dreamland (2019) by Peter Sobczynski

Lucky Grandma by Jay Seaver

Vast of Night, The by Peter Sobczynski

High Note, The by Peter Sobczynski

Taking of Tiger Mountain, The by Jay Seaver

Trip to Greece, The by Peter Sobczynski

Night God by Jay Seaver

Alice (2019) by Jay Seaver

On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Ruins, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Creepy crawly, creepy crawly..."
4 stars

Vines have always freaked me out a little.

They donít just grow. They climb. They snake their way up the sides of houses and into rain gutters looking for water. They can be trained, for Godís sake; they can be coaxed into covering a wall or a fence. They can get into just about anything, as any homeowner or gardener can tell you. They slither around blindly but intelligently, and someday they will develop a taste for blood, and come for you in the night. Vines: I donít trust the goddamn things.

Vines are the villains in The Ruins, a gory, wince-inducing horror film based on a bestseller by Scott Smith (he also wrote the script), whose previous novel A Simple Plan was adapted ten years ago by Sam Raimi. That film was a frosted film noir; this one concerns blood sacrifice, amputation, and a character who begins to carve a taco-sized chunk of skin off her thigh. Why? The vines. Four college kids (Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey) are vacationing in Cancun when they hear about an uncharted Mayan temple from a fellow tourist (Joe Anderson). They find the temple, only to discover a hostile group of locals who shoot one of the guys tagging along with the group. Why? Because the guy touched the vines.

Should I tell you more about the vines? No, theyíre best left for you to discover, particularly the way they lure people to them. The surviving explorers are trapped atop the temple with no food and less than a dayís worth of water. They canít leave, or the Mayans will kill them. They canít stay, or the vines will worm their way into any open wound or orifice. These vines, I assume, have developed a craving for blood, perhaps from various on-site human sacrifices over the centuries. They will squirm around inside you, visible under the skin, and drive you crazy enough to pick up something sharp and start hacking at yourself to get them out.

One could argue that my thing about vines made The Ruins a far more effective horror movie for me than for most others (the movie is getting ridiculed everywhere, and it opened at an unimpressive #5 at the box office; between this and Doomsday, itís a cold atmosphere lately for inexpensive throwback horror). First-time feature director Carter Smith (no relation to Scott), lucky enough to work with ace cinematographer Darius Khondji, creates a sense of sun-baked menace and dread; sometimes things are scarier when seen in stark daylight. Of the cast, the young women are memorably, believably traumatized; the young men are a bit blank. We know a little about the couple played by Tucker and Malone (heís a med student, sheís disappointed heís going to school thousands of miles away and tends to get drunk and loosey-goosey) and practically nothing about the couple played by Ashmore and Ramsey, so the latter coupleís fates donít move us as they should ó perhaps Scott Smithís novel picks up the slack.

Other than that, "The Ruins" is a short, sharp shock in an era of torture porn, PG-13 ghost stories, and slasher remakes. It puts likable (if sketchy) characters in a ghastly situation and watches them deteriorate, and delivers several uniquely creepy moments. It isnít one of the brightest lights in horror-film history, but it does its job remorselessly and well. Now if youíll excuse me, I have some business to take care of with a weed-whacker.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/07/08 07:23:16
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell not bad would like to read the book 4 stars
12/09/15 Luis Bernardo It isn't The Descent , but, it scared the hell out of me and it scared Stephen King! 4 stars
10/16/15 David Hollingsworth Intense, disturbing, and squirm-inducing 5 stars
5/11/10 bronson Great movie. Great characters 4 stars
5/31/09 art this film isn't for wimp's! 3 stars
4/25/09 matt well-acted, but unintentionally hilarious and un-scary 3 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Killer flowers.That's right...better for comedy than horror.My venus flytrap is scarier! 2 stars
8/11/08 George Barksdale Average horror movie 3 stars
7/29/08 Dave This review is right on - great movie! 5 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner Killer Weed!! My kind of movie! 5 stars
7/14/08 action movie fan college kids menaced by flesh eating vines-unique shocker that works 4 stars
7/12/08 VMANIC1 Movie makers of today just REFUSE to make a movie that has a definite ending. 3 stars
6/03/08 Priscilla Postlethwaite Audrey, eat your heart out!!!! 3 stars
4/22/08 Quigley The book was better, which doesn't say much. Definitely not what it could have been. 3 stars
4/15/08 Servo You guys are crazy. This movie was horror greatness. Better than the book even! 4 stars
4/12/08 Colleen Cousineau Typical book movie. 4 stars
4/08/08 shaw avoid this movie 2 stars
4/07/08 Esther Schwartz Good, but ... the book was better. 4 stars
4/05/08 Ron20003 No characters. No explainations. No thrills! 1 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  04-Apr-2008 (R)
  DVD: 08-Jul-2008



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Carter Smith

Written by
  Scott Smith

  Jonathan Tucker
  Laura Ramsey
  Jena Malone
  Shawn Ashmore

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast