The Ruins gets bonus points for pulling off a potentially ridiculous concept with serious punch. It never exceeds its foundations as a B-movie in terms of performances or script, but conceptually it is very strong. A bunch of (dumb) vacationing students end up visiting a Mayan ruin and become trapped there when the violent locals refuse to let them leave. It soon turns out there’s something far worse at play: killer vines!
Now shake all memories of The Happening – the other man v. nature movie from 2008 – out of your head and bare with me. Unlike that movie, The Ruins knows its tone and treats the material very seriously while simultaneously embracing the genre elements. There are a lot of genuinely icky moments here and the logic and “rules” of the killer vines is consistent and always developing in surprising ways. Sure the special effects are a little cartoony but the effects still work. There are moments of full-blown body horror, DIY surgery as well as a strange sexual aspect, all of which are utilised to scare you in fresh ways. It’s refreshing terrain for a horror movie, where sunlight and architecture are more oppressive than shadows and interiors. Honestly, by the end you won’t be able to look at a bunch of weeds in the same way again. Oh and Jena Malone is in it too.