I’m always wary when a movie comes out that was based on a book. You never know if they are going to completely hack it up and produce two hours of sewage, or stick with the original story and only trim some of the fat. A good example of sewage was “Jumper” and a good example of trimming fat are any of the Harry Potter movies (J.K. Rowling loves adding fat). My choices of movie to see were “21” and “The Ruins.” I have read “21” and I’m afraid that they have completely ruined that story. So I decided on “The Ruins,” which I have not read.
This movie was very good. Considering the book is 600+ pages, I’m guessing they had to trim quite a bit of fat. I’m also going to guess that the ending is different. It seemed a little too Hollywood (read: contrived) and set up for a sequel. They just can’t help themselves when they think they can squeeze more money without having to work hard. If (when) they do make a sequel, I’m sure it will completely suck, since they will have to try to come up with their own story. When that happens, you get stink bombs like “The Matrix Reloaded.”
If you’ve seen any of the previews, you should have a decent idea of what this movie is about. A group of college kids on Spring Break in Mexico set off with some German guy (Matias) to explore some hidden ruins (why are hidden ruins always easy to find?). They come upon a vine-covered Mayan temple when a bunch of Mayans (I know they’re extinct) show up. The Mayans refuse to let them leave and the group ends up having to scramble up to the top of the temple. Matias’ brother is supposed to be there, which is why Matias wanted to go. They find a couple of tents on top, but no people. We already know the brother and his companion’s are dead from the first scene, so now we’re just wondering how the vines are going to get the new group of people. Once they realize the vines are going to kill them, they wonder this too.
The vines are easily the best character in this story. They are creepy (HAHA!), realistic and evil-looking, they eat people, and they have some unique abilities, the best of which is how they lure and tease people. Trust me, that alone is worth seeing. They also seem to be able to smell blood, so if you are squeamish, do not see this movie. You might puke at several different points, especially when the aspiring doctor of the group is forced to practice some surgery. Keep in mind that he’s on top of an ancient Mayan temple and let your imagination run with how he performs those surgeries. Are you already feeling nauseous?
It’s important that the vines are so well-done, since the acting and dialogue aren’t that great. Luckily, they don’t have to be. You’re always waiting for the vines to reach out and snatch one of them, so you don’t really notice the other things. The movie is also only 90 minutes long, so they get to the point pretty quickly. The only unnecessary part is when we see the blond girl naked and her boyfriend begging for a blow-job a few minutes before they head to the ruins. We already feel bad for her when the vines are crawling around inside her body. We don’t need to see her tits to feel more sympathy for her and we definitely don’t need to see her boyfriend begging for head. I’m sure this was insisted on by some horny, creepy (HAHA!), older producer or director who just wanted to see a young girl’s goods (did I mention Ben Stiller was one of the executive producers?).
So if you can handle gore and bloodthirsty vines, go check out this film. And if they make a sequel, I will definitely throw up.
Rating: Don’t ask for any of your money back unless you were disappointed that it wasn’t as long as the book.