I saw and reviewed this movie over the weekend, but didn't put it up due to the Week of Recent East Asian Cinema event going on. The only reason I saw it in theater was because I made a deal with a fellow LAMB, Shea, that I would see and review this, and he would see a certain movie that I keep going on about. Well, it's totally unfair, because he's gonna get to see a totally awesome movie, and I, well... you'll see...


This movie is like mixing Cabin Fever with The Descent… except with monster vines instead of Gollums. The movie is about four 20-somethings vacationing in Mexico: Jeff (Jonathan Tucker), Amy (Jenna Malone), Eric (Shawn Ashmore), and Stacy (Laura Ramsey). When a German guy named Mathias (Joe Anderson) mentions that he was gonna go find his brother who went off with some archaeologist woman to an old Mayan temple in the middle of nowhere and haven’t come back yet. So of course they all want to go. But when they get there, these ‘guardians’ of the ruins show up and won’t let them leave… and then the plants of the ruins are alive and start attacking them and such.

So yeah, it was a pretty cliché movie, from the story to the characters. There actually really is no plot except that they get stuck on this big hill/ruins and can’t leave and start dying one by one. I mean, even leading up to the point of the ruins is silly. “Let’s go off the beaten path to the ruins where nobody has returned from… and even though the path is covered up which obviously means ‘do not enter’, we should keep on going anyway. And then let’s give our only working phone to one of the men that is trying to kill us.” The writing can be written off by one line in the movie: “Somebody will come! Four Americans on Vacation [in Mexico] don’t just disappear!” Uh, yeah… what news have you been watching, buddy? Everything basically happens like you figure it would.

As for the characters, it’s cliché city here, as well. In fact, the only character I really cared any amount about was Jonathan Tucker’s Jeff, who was pretty decently acted and the obvious main character. The others… I forgot their names almost immediately and renamed them with the clichés they embodied: Eric became ‘complaining friend with stupid idea that will get them killed’ and Stacy became ‘hot girl who cries and panics all the time’. Seriously, when the ending came about, the immediate thought in my mind (and this never happens) was “run, final girl, run! There you go, falling down and looking back! Just run!” Even the very end was a cliché horror movie technique. We seriously didn’t know much of anything about any of the characters, except for Jeff, who is going to med school (luckily for them). So there’s a really funny line toward the end of the movie… “You don’t know anything about us!” I was like “Yeah, no shit!”

But there are some positives. All the stuff at the ruins with Mathias was cool (it was the suspenseful/gory parts), as well as the stuff soon after with Stacy. There’s also some eye candy in the beginning when the main chars are all doing the horror movie ritual of partying. The gore stuff toward the end, though, was probably the only reason I bumped up my scoring to where I did. It didn’t fix the movie by any means, but it at least made it more interesting and/or worthwhile instead of watching a bunch of random people crying and complaining on top of a hill for 90 minutes.

The plant/vine monster… thing… whatever it was… was alright. It actually didn’t attack very often. It attacked them like… twice. But the first time put it inside the body, so that’s really all it needed. Every other time, it just pulled away the dead or bloody stuff. And the echo flowers were a neat concept, though incredibly weird. They helped to lure them, as well as increase paranoia, so they worked at that. Otherwise, they were just odd.

So yeah, I would probably recommend waiting for it to be on Showtime or HBO or Starz… whatever channel you watch your movies on. At least wait for the rental if you must. It’s not God-awful, but it could have been so much better and a whole lot less cliché. It just needed some substance, with both the plot and the characters. But if you’re a blood/gore kinda person, the last 1/3 of the movie, at least, might satisfy to some degree.

Feed Me, Seymour!

(P.S. It's ironic that my rating for this movie is a plant monster, huh?)

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