Director – Carter Smith
Cast – Jonathan Tucker, Jenna Malone, Laura Ramsey, Shawn Ashmore, Joe Anderson, Sergio Calderon
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Here’s a pretty interesting horror flick involving an unique killer…plants! This film is based off the novel of the same name by Scott B. Smith. Unlike most movies adapted from novels, this film actually has the novelist also writing the screenplay. I find that unique because it lets us actually see a live action rendition of what the writer saw when he wrote the book.
This film centers around a group of friends who are on a vacation in Mexico. They soon meet a fellow tourist at the resort who is going to go look for his brother who has not returned back from an archeological dig involving an unmapped Mayan ruin. Seeing this as an opportunity to become more “worldly”, the friends decide to tag along with the tourist and see what adventures await them. Once they arrive at the ancient Mayan ruins, they are confronted by a local tribe carrying arrows and firearms. The tribe has made it obvious that they are not going to let the tourists leave, nor get anywhere near them. They even prove this to the tourists by executing someone who got much to close to them in an effort to communicate. Forced to stay on the ruins or face certain death, the tourists then set up camp on the top and try and enter the ruins when they hear a cell phone ringing from inside. It is then that they realize that something is very wrong and weird with the plants inside and growing outside of the ruins. With very little food or water, they must then decide how they are going to get away from the tribe that is willing to kill anyone who has stepped on the ruins, as well as battle the man eating, shape shifting plants that are feeding off of them one by one.
As I mentioned earlier, this film has a pretty unique killer for our characters to fear. It has been decades since we have been shown anything plantlike killing and devouring people in movies. Films like The Little Shop of Horrors(1960 and 1986 remake) and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes made this idea happen, and then faded away for over twenty years. Another film that came out this very same year involving plants killing people is M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, although his plants were not as brutal as those in this film. This film gives us some pretty gruesome scenes involving these plants and their love for blood and flesh. The scenes involving the plants entering people’s open wounds, burrowing INSIDE the person’s body, and then having to be forcibly ripped out through the open wound were pretty intense and hard to watch. Definitely the stuff we gorehounds love to see! Neither this film nor the novel it is based on reveals what makes these plants do these things, and in this film’s case I found that beneficial. Watching our characters try and try to come up with solutions to their problem while completely surrounded by what is hunting them is really horrifying if you were to put yourself into that situation. In order to survive long enough until “help” arrives, we witness them do some pretty graphic things they normally would never have to do, which makes me happy because you know I love seeing people forced to do things they would never do in order to survive.
I do not have any real complaints for this film other than how annoying the character Amy was. Haha. Now does having no real complaints for a film mean it gets a perfect rating? No way. It’s just that a film with this type of plot can only be so good. I’m sure this could have been executed a little better, with some variations to the story that could have made it more scary and interesting, but even that might have moved it up one or maybe two points. Not enough for a perfect rating.
Overall, this is an interesting film given that it has to do with killer plants. It may sound a bit silly, but let’s see how many of you go looking for unmapped Mayan ruins after watching this.
– I ranked this film #10 in my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2008 post.