Friday, February 22, 2008

The Ruins

"The Ruins" - In the movie "The Ruins," six twenty-something friends on vacation in Cancun go on an excursion to visit an archaeological dig near Coba. The friends include Jeff (Jonathan Tucker), a type A guy who is set to begin medical school in the fall; Amy, Jeff's girlfriend, who is also set to begin medical school, and who is smart and emotional; Stacy, Amy's best friend, an aspiring social worker whose nickname is "Spacy" and who is irresponsible and promiscuous; Eric, Stacy's boyfriend, who is immature, and set to become a high school teacher; a fun-loving Greek guy who everyone calls "Pablo," but who lacks a common language with any of the others; and Mathias, an intense, thoughtful German tourist. Mathias' brother, Henrich, vanished shortly before the Americans and Greeks met Mathias--he met a beautiful Dutch archaeologist and decided to meet her at her dig, leaving a hastily drawn map for Mathias to follow in case he wanted to join him. The five others decide to accompany Mathias in his search for his brother, and take a bus to Coba for the day. Things immediately start to go wrong, as the group isn't well prepared for the heat and insects, and the journey becomes creepy. The poorly drawn map leads them to a Mayan village, where the grievously poor inhabitants appear hostile to the foreigners. Further searching leads them to an almost-hidden trail that they follow to the ruins. Gun, rifle, and bow-and-arrow wielding Mayan villagers force them to climb onto a large hill covered in vines and red flowers, and block their path off the mountain. The situation turns increasingly disturbing as they find Henrich's corpse, covered in the vine and flowers. Further investigation uncovers numerous other corpses covered in the plant, and the plant, it turns out, secretes an acidic sap that burns them all. Under the hill is a mine, and a ringing cell phone at the bottom lures Pablo, but the rope breaks and he falls, sustaining a broken back. Eric is injured slightly trying to rescue him. Gradually, the group discovers that the vine is sentient and carnivorous. It begins luring them to their deaths, one by one. It can mimic perfectly the voices of others, and uses this ability to separate the others, who are suffering from hunger and thirst. A drunk Amy is the first to go, strangled by the plant while Jeff, angry at her, ignores her struggles, which he mistakes for drunken sickness. Pablo's legs are eaten by the plant, and Jeff and Henrich then amputate them. The plant enters Eric's wound and, though they remove it, Eric insists it's still inside him, and he repeately cuts himself in an effort to get it out. Jeff is able to hold the group together to a certain extent, always with new ideas about how to conquer their challenges. But he is ultimately killed by the villagers' arrows while trying to sneak past them. Airheaded Stacy leaves Pablo unattended, and the plant kills and eats him. Eric flays himself alive trying to remove the plant, and then kills Mathias with his knife in a delusional accident. With only Eric and Stacy left, Eric begs her to kill him and put him out of his misery, which she ultimately does. Then, she decides to leave her dead body as a warning for others, and slashes her wrists on the path at the base of the hill. But the plant moves her away, just as it did other warning signs put up by other victims. The Mayans leave. Three days later, Pablo's Greek friends, with a few Brazilians, climb onto the hill ("The Ruins") to seek out their traveling companion, bringing several others with them."The Ruins" is based on the Scott Smith novel of the same name - a NY Times Best Seller. Scott Smith is also the author of "A Simple Plan," a 1998 Oscar nominee directed by Sam Raimi (also the director of the first three "Spiderman" films).

STARRING: Jonathan Tucker, Laura Ramsey, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore

DIRECTOR: Carter Smith

WRITER: Scott Smith

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