Lockdown Movie Review: A Holiday From Hell… 2008’s The Ruins



Horror movies aren’t noted for their happy-go-lucky air of fun, but The Ruins is a seriously bleak picture. Enjoyable, but, as I said, bleak. In fact The Ruins is the kind of film which Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) acted as a reproof.


The Ruins (2008) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers


A bunch of unlikable students on holiday in Mexico meet a man with an unconvincing German accent, he tells them he’s off to see his brother who is on an archaeological dig in the jungle. Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) tired of sitting around drinking and doing nothing else decides to go with Matias (Joe Anderson) to the dig site. He convinces his cheating girlfriend Amy (Jena Malone), her friend Stacy (Laura Ramsey) and her boyfriend Eric (Shawn Ashmore) to go with him. A group of young American tourists are persuaded to visit a ‘lost’ Mayan temple in the jungles of the Yucatán.


Well that was their first mistake, with things quickly going from bad to worse, as they local inhabitants confine the unlucky group to the ruin, where they experience hunger, water-deprivation, mania, amputation and assault by body-invading malevolent vines.


Oh – and the vines can also imitate the ringtones of cell phones and human voices. Bastards.


Ruins director Carter Smith described the movie as ‘really punishing’ and he wasn’t wrong, but I’ve seen it a good few times and always enjoyed (right word?) the experience. The picture made $22.3m on a $8m budget, so I can’t be the only one.


If you saw it, sound off in the comments and let us know what you thought?



Side note: Back in 2006 I met Tucker at the LA Screenings, where ITV2 (my then employer) had acquired his show The Black Donnellys. A nice guy and serious about the work, Tucker was too good for Donnellys, which was cancelled by NBC after one season.

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Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'