Based on the terrifying best-seller by Scott Smith, "The Ruins" follows a group of friends who become entangled in a brutal struggle for survival after visiting a remote archaeological dig in the Mexican jungle where they discover something deadly living among the ruins. "The Ruins" stars Jonathan Tucker ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "The Black Donnellys"), Jena Malone ("Pride and Prejudice", "Donnie Darko"), Shawn Ashmore ("X-Men: The Last Stand"), Laura Ramsey ("She's the Man") and Joe Anderson ("Across the Universe").
Whether you consider plants a source of terror or not will ultimately determine how you feel about the grisly horror movie The Ruins, but director Carter Smith and his cast and crew certainly give their all in bringing the chills of Scott Smith's novel to the big screen. Jena Malone (Saved) and Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men franchise) are the name actors in a pair of American couples down Mexico way who are ambushed by hostile Mayans and forced to the top of an ancient temple, where a monstrous and diabolically clever entity awaits them. Director Smith and his talented crew (which includes cinematographer Darius Khondji of Se7en fame and composer Graeme Revell) create a visually impressive spookshow but can't quite deliver genuine suspense (gore, however, is handled capably), and Scott Smith's script boils away much of the character development and mounting terror in his book, which also strands the likeable cast. The movie's monster, so alarming and imaginative in the original novel, is likely to provoke as many laughs as screams from filmgoers, especially when it reveals its unique talent. -- Paul Gaita