The Ruins

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Ruins Movie Poster Image
Tourists vs. flesh-eating vines; guess who wins?
  • R
  • 2008
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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."

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.

What 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."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjpeterk2002 June 27, 2021

Fake...take the time to learn geopraphy and topography in school especially American viewers!!! There is more to life than the good old US of A....

Well for starters, there are NO hills or mountains in the Cancun area. This is the Yucatan where it is if you are still interested in this bad... Continue reading
Adult Written bywonder dove November 23, 2013

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 lo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTruthXposed October 31, 2019
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 January 30, 2012


Awww sh*t.I just wasted 2 hours of my life I won't be getting back anytime soon watching this with my dad at the movies yesterday.Extremely brutal and grap... Continue reading

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?

This is a gruesome, stomach-churning film that's not recommended for kids. 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.

Talk to your kids 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

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