The Ruins

Tourists vs. flesh-eating vines; guess who wins?
  • Review Date: March 31, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Tourists make wrong decisions, betray and argue with one another. Mexican locals are portrayed as scary throughout.


Lots of violence, rendered in extremely visceral forms. A frightened girl is whisked off screen by an unseen monster. Weapons include guns, arrows, and knives. A character is shot in the head (graphic and explicit; half his head flies off); a small boy is shot in the chest. Other violence includes falls resulting in broken bones, penetration of bodies by vines, the brutal amputation of two legs (bones broken with a rock, legs hacked off with a hunting knife, bloody stumps visible, lots of screaming). Broken glass inside a wound (lots of blood). A girl starts cutting vines out of her own body, which yields even more blood. A girl accidentally stabs her boyfriend in the chest. A mercy killing is heard but not seen. A boy smears blood on his girlfriend to disguise her as a corpse.


Early scenes show girls in bikinis and couples being interested in sex. Drunk, a girl tries to kiss a young man but is rebuffed. A young couple makes a bet with oral sex as the payoff; the next morning, after rising from bed and stripping naked (breasts and torso visible in profile, bottom visible from back), the girl agrees to deliver on the bet, and the film cuts away as she straddles her partner (she's wearing a camisole and underpants at that point). A young man steps out of shower (shown first with towel around waist, then brief shot of naked bottom from rear). Later scenes show the girls in underpants and skimpy, increasingly raggedy tops (occasional shots show cleavage). Kiss at end of ordeal.


Lots of uses of "f--k," as well as other language, like "s--t," "hell," and "ass."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several scenes show drinking (margaritas, tequila, beer); when a character has his legs amputated, he's given liquor to kill the pain.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this gory horror movie features grisly violence, with sound effects and close-up images of broken bones, gashed flesh, and amputation (this last is particularly gruesome, with explicit gore, bone, blood, and sound). In another brutal, very bloody sequence, a girl who's tormented by vines that have invaded her body cuts her leg, torso, and head to pull the plant out. Weapons include arrows, guns, and knives. Girls show lots of skin in early scenes (one appears naked as she's dressing; her breasts are visible in profile, her bottom from the back), and there's a brief shot of a young man's naked bottom from the back. Drinking includes margaritas, beer, and tequila; language includes frequent uses of "f--k."

What's the story?

THE RUINS offers up yet another group of pretty, white American tourists whose blithe, privileged confidence is about to hit a big snag. Two couples on vacation in Mexico -- Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) and Amy (Jena Malone) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey) and Eric (Shawn Ashmore) -- accept an invitation from Mathias (Joe Anderson), a German traveler they've just met, to check out an "archeological dig." But at the temple deep in the jungle, they find only scary-looking, armed villagers ... and flesh-eating vines. The tourists more or less proceed to get picked off one by one, as much through their own arguments, betrayals, and bad decisions as by the exceedingly insidious and strangely intelligent vine.

Is it any good?


The disintegrations of the couples' relationships parallel their turns to brutality. Their fights and frustrations lead directly to ugly violence. Jeff, an aspiring doctor, diagnoses injuries, decides on "treatments" ("Keep his legs clean," he says of a comrade with a broken back and gashed legs), and protests their situation ("This doesn't happen," Jeff blusters, "Four Americans on vacation don't just disappear"). While the others are less convinced that someone will come save them, they do go along with his decision to amputate the legs of the comrade with the broken back. This leads to excruciating pain and gruesome imagery, as they break the legs with a rock and cut them with a hunting knife.

In another sequence, when one girl believes the vines are inside her body, she begs Jeff to cut them out. Though he agrees to a couple of efforts -- horrified as he pulls out the long, green, trembling cables -- at last he has to stop. "There's no more cutting," he says flatly, "We can't keep cutting." In this, the film achieves something like a metaphor, as the tourists' fears have infected their very beings, vine-like, and their decisions are increasingly ineffective precisely because they're based on fear and ignorance.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of grisly horror movies. Do you think they're trying to make a point underneath all the bloodshed? If so, what? What do you think about the trend of tourists as modern slasher movie victims (as opposed to, say, babysitters during the '80s)? Is that a commentary about politics or other bigger issues around the world?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 4, 2008
DVD release date:July 7, 2008
Cast:Jena Malone, Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore
Director:Carter Smith
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence and gruesome images, language, some sexuality and nudity.

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Kid, 11 years old August 28, 2011
age 17+

OK movie.

I would of rated off for 16 and under if there were no sexual content. Very grusome and bloody. Alot of language and sexual content. Mild drinking.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byTXSnoot April 9, 2008
age 0+

Don't Waste Your Time, and certainly not for kids!

Don't Waste Your Time, and certainly not for kids!
Adult Written bywonder dove November 23, 2013
age 18+

Disturbingly terrifying!

The Ruins is one of those very different, extremely gory and terrifying horror films that is perfect for true horror buffs. This was awesome! I know some who love it, I know some who hate it. It centers around American couples Amy (Jena Malone) and Jeff (Jonathan Tucker) and Amy's best friend Stacy (Laura Ramsey) and her boyfriend Eric (Shawn Ashmore) who are enjoying their time at the beach in Mexico when they meet a kind German guy Mathias (Joe Anderson) who offers to take them to see a remote Aztec Temple in the middle of the jungle. As interesting as it sounds, they of course accept it. However, things turn into terror as soon as they arrive when they come across a heard of armed villagers who cannot understand English and seem to only want to kill those who trespass. The friends are then stranded on the temple full of vines and a deep underground cave where sounds of a cell phone is mysteriously heard, however they know it's next to impossible that a cell phone would work underground but their suspicion gets the best of them. After Mathias falls down it and breaks his leg, the girls must embark on a journey down under to find the cell phone as it's their only hope when they actually discover that the creepy vines that surround them are alive...and evil. Can they escape the ruins before they're all devoured? The language is strong from everything to f-words and sh*t to @ss and hell. Violence is BRUTAL and extremely strong, gory and bloody with a graphic gunshot to the face, graphic use of bow & arrows and knives. A man falls down a cave and breaks his back and leg, his pain is intense. A child is shot in front of everyone. A man who's leg is decaying has to get it chopped off with a knife (very explicit and gory), lots of screaming and yelling, lots of arguing. Vines laugh, repeat people's words and eat at human flesh. A woman has vines growing inside her body and has them cut out of her resulting in extreme blood and gore. Same woman starts to cut more vines out of herself realizing it's impossible and that she's going to die. Vines eat away a body that has just died. A man gets stabbed in the chest. Vines force their way down a mans throat and he chokes to death. A rotten, decayed woman's corps is found wrapped in vines (showing she was struggling to get out at one point). A woman is chased by villagers. Scenes are sad and very frightening. Sexual content includes a bet resulting in oral sex happens between a couple, you see her straddle him on a bed but the scene then cuts. Men and women seen in swimwear. Women wear slightly suggestive clothing. A drunk woman tries to seduce a man she just met but fails. A woman accuses her boyfriend of sleeping with her best friend because of moaning sounds she heard (which is not the case), a woman gives her boyfriend a hand-job under a sleeping bag so nothing is shown but is obvious. Some crude sexual jokes throughout. There is a rowdy scene of alcohol drinking and alcohol later used to ease a mans pain. Overall, incredible acting & great film for only strong stomachs. 18+ ONLY.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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