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The Ruins Movie Review

Fans of the horror genre are going to love The Ruins. Read the review. I think that I’ll see this one.

Not since Little Shop of Horrors have plants taken such a front seat in film, but The Ruins brings the foliage back… with a vengeance. Watching the film, which is based on the popular Scott B. Smith novel (he also wrote the screenplay), is like coming face-to-face with a fear you never knew you had, and the fact that it manages to make creeping vines terrifying is a testament to all involved. A hundred stock, mock-witty catchphrases like “horror that gets under your skin” could be applied to the flick, but really what it does is get in your head.

The story plays out like a mash-up of two lesser films: Turistas and Cabin Fever. A pair of young, vacationing couples in Mexico is at the tail end of their holiday when they run into a German tourist poolside. He details a rare and off-the-beaten track archaeological dig that his brother is involved in. Mathias, the German, hasn’t spoken to his brother for days, but isn’t concerned. He blows off his lack of contact and puts his new friends at ease; his brother is just excited by the dig, he explains.

Smith is smart to keep the group accessible. The two couples are people we all know: Stacy (Laura Ramsey, of The Real Cancun fame) and Eric (Shawn Ashmore) are easy, in-love folks who are up for anything. Jeff (Jonathon Tucker) is in med school and a little controlling; the only member of the group who is visiting Mexico for anything besides beach, beer and ass. Ultimately, it’s important he’s a med student because there is a good deal of impromptu surgery on the menu later in the film. His girlfriend Amy (Jena Malone) is restless and impetuous, and when she drinks she makes a failed pass at Mathias. This has happened before.

So… while the audience is waiting for the other frond to drop, the fivesome sets off to the jungle, despite some cryptic warnings from their taxi driver and protests from Amy. Of course, the naysayers are correct: This group should not be heading into the jungle. Their hike up to the “ruins” is a death march and we all know it.

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