Alarm! The time flickers 04:12 on my trusty digital clock as I hear a noise outside the igloo! My government issue APHSD (Anti-personnel Private Home Security Device) has been triggered!!
I rush outside and sure enough, someone has walked through my piece of string with cans attached.
Then an unwelcome sight – the dog enclosure has been broken into! The dogs are gone, along with my sledge!!
So I really am trapped then. My only means of transport gone. Stolen. But by who? Or what??
Then I remember. I didn’t have any dogs or a sledge.
Or a dog enclosure.
Relieved, I go back inside the igloo, making a mental note to list my provisions, as the TV comes slowly alive and the credits roll (and I remember I don’t have a digital clock either)…
THE RUINS (2008)
There aren’t enough films with scary man-eating plants these days for my liking. Just think how much better Eyes Wide Shut, Mona Lisa Smile or even, I daresay, this year’s Oscar nominated The Reader would have been with the inclusion of a carnivorous hedgerow or two.
So I’ve got an awful lot of goodwill for The Ruins, a film about - scary man-eating plants.
It uses Modern Horror Film Template #1 to start - a group of scantily clad teens go exploring. They meet some unfriendly locals.
Where The Ruins score points for originality is that we’re a-way down in Mexico way.
And the unfriendly locals have surrounded the teens on the roof of a Mayan temple. But why don’t they attack??
Our teens are trapped on the temple roof. What will they do? What plans will they put in place to get rescued?
Or to put it another way, how long would you be able to sit on a roof without breaking your back, smashing your leg and getting stabbed?
I’m not saying our teens are particularly accident prone, but within the space of 5 minutes one of the guys has taken a header down the only, very clearly marked, hole on the roof and broken his back. And there’s soon a girl hobbling around with a huge gash (don’t be crude) in her thigh. It would seem that not only do our teens have to worry about being trapped by hostile locals, they also have to worry about being a bit stupid.
And then the plants start getting frisky. The injured members of the party awake to find their wounds have attracted the local vegetation. Cue much horrible and bloody cutting and pulling of vines from veins.
We’re then treated to a double amputation with a pen-knife. Lovely. Actually, it’s quite funny. Something inside me will always find a bloke with a dodgy German accent pleading for his legs to be cut off deeply hilarious.
I’ve just remembered I was going to try and be nice to The Ruins. So I'm quite happy to admit that yes, I did quite enjoy it. The young cast did a great job, with some impressive acting throughout, and the special effects team certainly know how to shake a plant or two.
I was, however, kinda surprised to discover the source material is a highly praised novel (Scott B. Smith), because the film’s attempt at a back story and character motivation and development seemed distinctly half-arsed. Why didn’t we find out more about the first party of guys whose empty tents were found? Why didn’t we find out a little bit more about the locals? I could understand an answer of ‘we needed to cut to the chase and get the plot moving’, but at the end of the day the plot involved little more than teens standing on top of a Mayan temple having endless unintentionally amusing accidents.
Despite this the fact remains – The Ruins has man-eating plants and is therefore worth watching. Go see it. You never know (awful pun alert), it might grow on you!
"Against the Sun" -- Available on DVD May 5th from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Amplify Releasing - *"…features three strong no-frills performances…" ~ Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com* From Anchor Bay Entertainment and Amplify Releasing comes *Against...
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