Warning: This review contains spoilers
Call a horror film “The Ruins” and it conjures up all sorts of imagery. Groups of young people running hopelessly round the poorly lit hallways of a disused set from Indiana Jones. Secret passages and ancient monsters trapped for centuries in their underground tombs, desperate for something to kill.
What you actually get is something quite different. Yes, there young people are there and yes, there are poorly lit hallways. Unfortunately, these hallways take about 2 minutes of the film, if that and the whole part set in the ruins is about 10 sporadic minutes, during which time not very much happens.
Instead, we are treated to a film of which the majority is set on top of some ancient ruins, some long-lost Mayan temple. These young Americans on holiday go to see them as an adventure and end up getting trapped on top after being attacked by a local tribe, with whom they cannot communicate.
The rest of the film is mostly that of a disaster movie. They have to ration their meagre supplies and care for the injured whilst trying to find a way to escape.
The horror element is introduced gradually and as soon as you see what is happening, you will be horrified. Not for the reasons indented by the film-makers, but because it is clearly The Happening: Mayan Temple Edition.
The film is about killer plants. No, seriously. Someone saw The Happening and thought “what this film really needs is a Mayan temple!” It really didn’t.
The acting is at the level you might expect, but the characters have no redeeming features. Despite the traditional laboured attempt to give them a back story, they’re all pretty indistinguishable.
The writing is nothing to write home about (see what I did there?) and what might have made a decent half hour TV episode is stretched to a beleaguered 90 minutes, which means there is a lot of filler.
It gets a bit more interesting towards the end as things are ramped up, but even the late surge of unnecessary gore can’t hide the fact this is woefully low on things to do on some ancient ruins.