From Hostel to Paradise Lost, there are obvious political reasons for the current glut of horror films featuring groups of American teenagers holidaying abroad who get picked off one-by-one by mysterious forces. But even Marshall McLuhan and Noam Chomsky combined couldn’t find a meaningful subtext in The Ruins, a soul-crushingly silly effort which dares to depict Mayan temples filled with killer plants.
Adapting his own novel, writer Scott B Smith pitches Amy (Jena Malone), Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) and their airhead pals along a secret path to a mysterious pyramid guarded by taciturn natives. The locals murder one of their group in the hope of appeasing the bloodthirsty vines growing through the cracks, and soon the kids are being taunted and tormented by the local plant life. The flora and fauna not only has a nasty way of worming its way into their bodies, but it also psychologically tortures them in the darkness by imitating their voices and even mimicking their mobile phones.
Handsomely produced by Dreamworks, Carter Smith’s film is as consistently ludicrous as it sounds, and despite some decent acting and a few convincing gore effects, be warned: watching The Ruins is likely to dismantle your night.
General release from Fri 20 Jun.