Parents' Guide to

The Ruins

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Tourists vs. flesh-eating vines; guess who wins?

Movie R 2008 91 minutes
The Ruins Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

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.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (12 ):

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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: April 4, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: July 7, 2008
  • Cast: Jena Malone , Jonathan Tucker , Shawn Ashmore
  • Director: Carter Smith
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Pansexual actors
  • Studio: DreamWorks
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 91 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong violence and gruesome images, language, some sexuality and nudity.
  • Last updated: February 27, 2023

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