These thoughts are infested with spoilers, yo!
Getting the chance to rewatch 2008's The Ruins recently, I found that the film that I had quite enjoyed when it was released still held up very well a few years afterwards. Not that just over two years is a long time or anything, but for a movie that featured a generally young cast and came out over the last five years, it's certainly one of the better ones. Knowing that The Ruins is based off a novel (that I've heard is quite good), I imagine how much better the idea of plants using vibration to mimic sound would work in print, nevertheless, the idea still fares very well on celluloid, even if it is slightly (and welcomingly) hokey.
For a picture that is filled with what appears to be a soulless, youthful cast on the surface, the characters aren't total idiots and have a strong sense of depth as far as their relationships (or lack thereof) with each other goes. Also, the cast is actually comprised of some solid actors that have worked in films that I already love, as opposed to nobodies that are only there to look pretty and mope around with long grey faces and pouty lips, all upset that they ran out of hair gel (actually, I would be upset too). Speaking of pretty, it's ironic that the hot girl, Stacy, who shows off her nicely maintained body, is the one that seems to get the most physical (as well as mental) abuse out of the four main friends.
She's not necessarily the type of character that seems to be all about her looks thus making her painful plight enjoyable on a sadistic level for the warped viewer. Instead, it plays off the visual aspect of seeing a beautiful woman easily destroy her exterior to rid her body of these grotesque plants that are roaming free underneath her flesh. I know when I get a hangnail, I'll gnaw at that thing until I rip a piece of skin that stretches to my knuckle just to get rid of it (and where's my Oscar for best female performance?!). Sure, that's not really the same thing as plants rummaging around beneath your flesh, but if I'll chew a piece of skin from my finger to my elbow for a hangnail, imagine what I would do if I had a plant in my forehead?!
The Ruins has an interesting concept and is executed nicely on all fronts, but it's that self-mutilation and the few moments of horrific mutilation in general that make the film most memorable. Watching Stacy cut deeply into her own belly, claiming with a hint of madness that, "It's okay, I just have to get this one (of the plants) out," is quite grueling in such a wonderful way. I think this entire sequence is the most effective portion of the film, however, I cannot be lax in mentioning the double leg amputation from earlier in the film. This is where the mostly deteriorated legs of Mathias have to first be broken with a rock, the remaining flesh cut away with a pocketknife, then a screaming hot skillet is used to cauterize the wound. It's pretty intense.
I don't want to overextend myself claiming that The Ruins is some masterpiece or anything more than what it actually is, but it is a very good-to-great body horror film, specifically for the time in which it came out and the type of film that it looked like it could be. It was all but ignored at the box office, unfortunately, and I don't think it will be anytime soon where people recognize it for what it is. Nevertheless, give this one a good ten-to-fifteen years, and I believe it may have the right stuff the be a minor cult classic for horror fans that are lucky enough to discover it.