(In French, On TV, June 2019) I read the horror novel on which The Ruins is based so long ago that I only remembered the premise and the extremely dark ending. But as it turns out, that was enough to make for an interesting viewing: the filmmakers changed the ending to something less depressing, and that was enough to keep me on my toes toward the end of the film. The premise, at least, remains the same: a few young Americans are tempted into visiting an ancient pyramid that doesn’t figure on any map. But it turns out that there’s a reason why it’s not on any map: before long, natives surround the pyramid and prevent them from leaving. But the real threat is inside, as the vines covering the pyramid have a mind of their own, and claim more of the group as victims. Killer plants, possibly from outer space, doesn’t sound that scary, but the bag of tricks used here includes invasive vines, whispering flowers and human protagonists being driven insane by the situation. Handled by Carter Smith, The Ruins remains a fairly ordinary horror movie, but one that remains a bit more interesting than most by dint of an unusual premise and atmosphere. The ending helps a bit, as it does include something more than the nihilistic everybody-dies nonsense. This being said, let’s not pretend that the characters are all that compelling—one of them dies in such a spectacularly dumb fashion that audiences are like to just throw up their hands at how he had it coming.