Let's get this out the way. For those not familiar with Scott B. Smith's popular novel of the same name 'The Ruins' deals with ancient evils, a tale of survival, terror and killer greenery. The only question is; is 'The Ruins' more 'The Happening' than 'The Day of the Triffids'?
Jena Malone ('Donnie Darko') and Laura Ramsey ('The Covenant') join Shawn Ashmore and Jonathan Tucker as the foursome forced into an unusual survival situation when the gang befriend a German named Mathias whilst holidaying in Mexico. They learn Mathias is heading along to join his brother on a dig at an ancient Mayan ruin and decide to tag along. But god damn would you believe it, they stumble off the beaten track and discover that the ancient ruins is nothing more than a feared hotspot for ancient evil and life sucking vines.
The overall concept of being trapped and alone in a foreign country where the locals don't speak the lingo and there's ubiquitous bloodshed is always cause for concern (see also 'Turistas' aka 'Paradise Lost') but when you toss in some crazed foliage there's an even ever-present seed of fear.
'The Ruins' isn't the first take on killer plants by no means, but appears to be the first that's linked to ancient curses and evil. This does give the film more body, yet doesn't attempt to explicate any reasoning as to why this is all occurring. But that's fair enough, sometimes no explanation can be an ickle more chilling.
Gore hounds will probably cream themselves over some of the effects on show, and notably all of the decent ones are proper prosthetic blood-laden effects you'll be relieved to know. There are touches of CGI where necessary and blended quite well into the surroundings; although when the girls find themselves faced with noisy, animated shrubbery within the cave I sadly wasn't overly terrified as I couldn't quite tear my mind away from similar scenes in 80's musical comedy/horror 'The Little Shop of Horrors'.
Not being familiar with the novel myself I'm unsure how much of the movie's ending is actually laid out in the book but I was somewhat frustrated and let down by the sudden ending. The last 15 minutes was a tad swift and seemed to cobble a lot of what could have been intense sequences together too rapidly. The open ended climax just spews potential of a direct-to-DVD sequel, which are sorrowfully becoming too common of late. Those money grabbing bastards (waves his fist in disgust).
'The Ruins' was enjoyable and gruesome and in due course may convince its opponents that it is borderline commendable. It has building blocks of horror cliché that you would expect to see in a situation like this. Could a movie such as this literally survive by ignoring them? But ultimately you knew endurance would only get the boys and girls so far. This of course leads to inevitable predictability and it becomes more of a how can they die as opposed to when.