THE RUINS (Carter Smith). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (April 4). Rating: NNN
The Ruins should make you reconsider visiting any off-the-guidebook-map Mayan sites or, closer to home, any place with creeping vines. A handful of 20-somethings in Cancun find themselves trapped atop a mysterious archaeological site, hungry, thirsty and surrounded by the creepiest plants since those Invasion Of The Body Snatcher pods.
Writer Scott B. Smith has adapted his own novel to work visually and dramatically, transposing some characters and cutting out much of the psychological horror but maintaining the gore, which includes a few convincing examples of DIY surgery captured unflinchingly by director Carter Smith.
The cast, headed by Jena Malone, Laura Ramsey, Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore and Joe Anderson, is strong and attractive. Smith gives us lots of shots of their early sun-kissed bodies so their decline and fall becomes all the more dreadful.