The Ruins Carter Smith

The Ruins Carter Smith
Take a fatter-looking Iceman from those X-Men movies, add some tragically dumb blonde and Donnie’s weird girlfriend from Donnie Darko, toss in a creepier, younger Cole Hauser, throw them all on some island somewhere in Mexico that sprouts evil vegetation and basically, you have The Ruins, the worst horror film of this young millennium.

Even worse is this ill-conceived cast: a group of teenie boppers who provide as much depth as a cast of porn stars. Seriously, save for the obligatory screaming, groaning and sweating there’s nothing, not even a speckle of substance, or talent, just plain old human butchery at the hands of some unknown assailant that lurks deep in the forest. (Lost, anyone?)

This malevolent presence manifests once our characters arrive to their inevitable place of demise: a big, random Mayan temple located in a jungle so inhabitable that anyone in their right mind would avoid it, unless you know of anyone who’s been raised by a family of marsupials. But these kids are brave and brazen, just like all the other toe rags in this genre.

It starts with four American college students enjoying a balmy getaway in Mexico. Then, a random German tourist invites them on a hike through the Mayan ruins for "fun times, ya?” After they get there, the environing greenery takes on a mind of its own, ripping and pulling and piercing anything they can touch.

In addition to killing, the possessed weeds can also sing telephonic ringtones too, but mostly just Blackberry ones (don’t ask). It doesn’t help that the awkwardly placed villagers are baying at these kids at the top of this temple, so as to quarantine the contagious evil. One unfortunate soul even undergoes a makeshift amputation that gets cauterised by a frying pan.

Jacking a note (or ten) from the Turistas playbook, this film is riddled with as much depravity and soullessness as the demonic plants that writhe within. The titular novel, written by Scott Smith, serves as a descent shitter read at best, further justifying the futility of this whole thing in general. By the torturous end, there was more popcorn flying through the air than fear.

If you’re an aspiring horror filmmaker, The Ruins serves as perfect lesson on how not to adapt a novel. Then again, at this juncture in American horror, you’d be foolish to expect much anyway. Even so, this is an all-new low. Possessed weeds that not only craft your slow, painful death but sing too? Why, Hollywood? Why? (Dreamworks/Paramount)