I didn't know a whole lot about the Ruins before watching it. My breadth of knowledge came from the fact that a newspaper holder at UMASS had been carrying the poster of it for at least 2 years after it was released. I always assumed the film had something to do with ancient Mayans and hopefully some aliens and maybe a crystal skull. Lucky for us all, Indiana Jones was able to satisfy our needs for that plot
and so all The Ruins has left to conquer is.....the plants. Yes the Ruins is about plants, and as much as I'd like to see some ancient Mayan curse and ancient Mayan demon gods or whatever--that just ain't happening.
Our film starts off much like the likes of Hostel or any movie where Americans are traveling some place and get into trouble. Our 4 main characters are in Mexico and meet a mysterious man who prompts them to visit some uncharted Mayan ruin with him. He says that his brother is there and has not yet come back, so he MUST be having "fun". Who has "fun" while pillaging around Mayan ruins? Oh right nobody because everybody's DEAD. The group takes off and after a confrontation with some locals ends badly with some arrows and a gun shot- the group flees to the top of the Mayan pyramid. There they find what happened to the others, as well as some plants. Some really mean plants.
I wouldn't say I liked The Ruins, but I also wouldn't say it's a terrible movie. It just so happens to be a movie that came along in the years of gross out gore and Hostel like boundaries. It's a movie that doesn't serve any purpose except to make you uncomfortable. I would never see this again and that's because it leaves me feeling empty and gross. The gore is ridiculously nasty--and really makes you wish that crazy people could be kept away from all sharp implements. Other than the gore however--there isn't anything truly upsetting or terrifying about this, and I think that's where I lose interest.
I find it very hard to feel terrified during a movie if the premise is absolute bologna. I don't fancy myself venturing off to uncharted Mayan ruins or being taken over by plants that have a recording device stashed away in their stamen. The moment that it was revealed that the plants were what the locals were afraid of (which is pretty early on)---all horror went straight out the window. This is of course also due to the fact that the plants were largely CGI plants.
Ooooh scary. This isn't to say I don't find all plant movies terrifying. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is scary but for some reason, these plants and this premise just completely bothered me. I found it boring, lame and at times utterly ridiculous. Once you find out that the plants are capable of getting you by any means and that the locals will not let our main character's leave, we pretty much know the outcome--and what is fun about that?
These plants left no room for survival and it pretty much means that we are left to sit there and watch gore for the duration of the movie.
That being said, the gore is pretty horrific in it's own right. That, I will give it. There were moments where I completely dreaded what was about to enfold and what enfolded was awful. There's something about flesh being cut into and fingers stuffed inside that just screams barf bag. The leg amputation scene was also pretty horrific. As was Stacy's self mutilation scene----including bits of flesh hanging off and such....bleck!
Of course I am not one to like a movie just because it has gore in it---in fact I don't even like gratuitous gore so once again I find myself less than thrilled.
The character's were also... not too exciting. Jena Malone's character was completely unlikable (STOP taking pictures you biotch) and to have her be the final girl? Puh-lease. They were boring, and although the last few deaths were a tiny bit heart wrenching, I didn't really feel enough to even make a sad face. It was expected. It was boring. And it was just not entertaining.
Overall I just wasn't pleased. I had heard a lot of positive things about this film, mostly having to do with it's underrated-ness, which typically means that I will not like it because let's face it--I only like what everyone else likes. The bottom line here is that I didn't feel like I had anything invested in this. I didn't care about characters, I didn't fear the plants, and I really hated Jena Malone. I guess I just wanted some good old fashioned Mayans, or some kind of Mayan curse to happen. I wanted them to actually go inside the pyramid and be hunted by a demon or SOMETHING, ANYTHING but some lame ass plants.