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Ruins, The


Stars: Jena Malone, Jonathan Tucker, Laura Ramsey, Shawn Ashmore, Joe Anderson

Director: Carter Smith

A ludicrous, loathsome horror film about killer vines that cover the ruins of an ancient Mayan pyramid in Central America. Four young US tourists are invited to see the ruins by a German backpacker, whose brother (dead, of course) is already there.

Native Mayans (actually rather obviously Aborigines, as the film was shot in Australia) kill another of the group's companions and drive the survivors up the pyramid (why don't they just warn them off?), where they soon discover the worst.

Their mobile phones don't work, naturally - as they never do in these films. Most of the rest of the movie consists of the tourists injuring themselves doing silly things and cutting bits off themselves and each other in a futile attempt to stop invasive vines taking over their bodies. 'Four Americans on a vacation don't just disappear,' yelps Jeff (Tucker), who obviously hasn't seen many horrror films like this.

Even for genre fans, this is a waste of time. The plants, whose hibiscus-like flowers imitate phone and other noises to lure their prey to their doom (is there any record of such plant behaviour ever?), seem to have lived and flourished for centuries, which just goes to prove, I suppose, that good vines improve with age.

David Quinlan

Australia/USA 2008. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 14 Jun 2008