Don’t feed the man-eating plants

04May08

All right, why the hell didn’t I think to review this movie when I actually saw it back in April? It totally slipped my mind. Anyway, up to this point I’ve only reviewed movies I’ve enjoyed, probably because I tend to choose what movies I spend my eight bucks on cunningly; before my spring semester ended this year, my great roommate and I decided to see one last movie together (student discounts rock). It just turned out that there was nothing particularly worthwhile playing in the closest theater (trust me, that town’s a crap shoot) at the time, and I was in the mood for a horror flick, so we went to see The Ruins.

Eh, I guess there were worse movies playing that week.

The Ruins, which came out April 4 and was directed by Carter Smith, had the potential to be at least a decent film. I mean, look at some of the cast. There’s Shawn Ashmore (X-men trilogy, Smallville), a good, up-and-coming young actor who’s been developing a name for himself over the years. Jena Malone’s in it, too. She played Gretchen in one of my favorite movies, Donnie Darko. She’s also been in movies like Saved!, Cold Mountain, and Into the Wild.

Amy (Jena Malone) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey)

And it’s not like they just made this movie up. It was based on a novel. Unfortunately, the plot—at least in the film—is lacking, and the characters just get on your nerves, so there’s no way to feel connected to virtually anyone in this movie. And if you’ve seen it, let’s face it. It sucks.

The movie falls into a typical trap of horror/thriller clichés, and it’s not even worth seeing just to make fun of it. It starts off slowly with a bunch of friends on vacation in Cancun. They talk, flirt, have fun, and Amy (Jena Malone) gets drunk and comes off as sexually desperate even though she has a boyfriend. Like dozens of films before it, the main characters of The Ruins are air-headed spring breakers—except for the fact that they’re not. They’re older and actually have legitimate jobs, which adds even more incredulity to the mix. One member of the group, Jeff (Jonathan Tucker), is entering medical school soon. Stacy (Laura Ramsey) is a social worker, and Eric’s (Shawn Ashmore) apparently a high school teacher. The characters, despite how “mature” they’re set up to seem because of their backgrounds, are shallow, annoying, and even almost sadistic in the case of Jeff (let’s just say I wouldn’t want him to operate on me, ever). Okay, so Jeff thought he did what needed to be done to ensure the survival of the characters who still stood a chance, but he was simply way too careless about his “procedures” (I’ll use that word), and it didn’t end up doing a damn thing in the long-run. So yeah, Jeff? Stay the hell away from me. You have issues.

That’s it, idiot, wave to the villagers who will try to murder you.

Anyway, in a lot of ways this movie reminds me of (heh) Piñata: Survival Island. Instead of traveling by boat to a remote island, it’s just a jungle the group gets a foreign guide to drive them deep into; like the characters in that movie, this group of vacationers are equally dim-witted. Jeff (the psycho doctor-in-training), Amy (the cautious yet whiny chick), Stacy (the attention seeker), Eric (evidently the only sane one), and Mathias (the cute, adventure-eager German, played by Joe Anderson, they meet beforehand who I thought had enough sense to survive, but who ended up suffering horribly throughout the movie and was the first to die) embark in search of an archaeological site that resembles a Mayan temple. They come across some villagers who become violent when Amy unknowingly touches the moss around the temple. Concerned for their lives, they flee to the top of the temple, where they soon discover that the seemingly harmless plants covering the place are really flesh-hungry vines and weird red flowers with an agenda. The plants start to attack them, growing on them and attaching to them while they sleep. The group starts to realize (duh) that no one is coming for them and that they have to find a way off the temple fast—oh, and without being shot by the wary villagers who set up camp around the temple in order to prevent them from spreading the contamination.

Poor Mathias, this shitty movie showed you no mercy.

In addition, The Ruins is just gory. But don’t get excited. It’s disgusting and needlessly gory. Like, gore for the sake of gore. It’s overdone, pointless, and plain excessive. I don’t mind bloody films with body trails and ruthless deaths if there’s a point to it. Take V for Vendetta, for instance. It’s a brilliant film despite the fact that it’s a blood bath and that you’re practically tripping on all the violence. Uh, hello, anarchy? Destruction? The part that makes it different from a lame gore fest (it’s not even a good one, is what I’m saying, if you’re into that) like The Ruins is that there was actual thought behind the film. But this pathetic excuse for a horror movie—and that’s saying something—is just a quick opportunity to waste your cash. So take my advice: Don’t even rent it.

Plus, the ending is unsatisfying. And that makes it automatically bad. My reaction when the credits rolled? “Oh … That’s it?”

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4 Responses to “Don’t feed the man-eating plants”

  1. But… but… flesh-eating plants! How can they mess that up?

  2. Haha! Man-eating plants, man. Those are just wicked. 😀

  3. 3 almostperfectzen

    I can’t believe you saw this movie… XD

  4. Me, either. I’m still mourning those four bucks, deep inside … X)


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