Retro Review: The Ruins by Scott Smith

Everybody but me loves this one!


The Ruins by Scott Smith 
Horror Fiction
AmazonGoodreads
Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine.Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.


 
My Thoughts

I just listened to this on unabridged audio. Having seen the movie a few years ago, I was expecting it to be a decent body horror tale of survival and I wasn’t disappointed on those two counts. But I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed the book more than the movie. The movie was suspenseful and to the point and brutal and it was only 90 minutes long so there wasn’t a lot of time spent with the characters. The audio though was nearly 11+ hours long and I had to spend way too much time with these characters. This normally wouldn’t be a bad thing but as the story went on this dumb bunch began to get on my last nerve..

I was sympathetic when they decided to leave their cushy resort to hike into the mysterious “ruins” to find an acquaintance, armed only with some tequila, a little water and bit of snack food for sustenance. They’re young, they’re stupid and they think they’re invincible.

They soon learn they’re not the latter. Nope. Not at all. Because of their keen ability to ignore all of the warning signs they end up stranded on a hill infested with something sinister. They ignore the tour guide and I get it because there is a huge language barrier. Still, this warning might’ve given me pause, “This place. No good”. Oh really? Well, let’s just pretend he never said that . . . They then ignore the dog, who desperately attempts to warn them away and who turns out to be far smarter than all of them. Always listen to the doggie. Yet they blunder on, even ignoring the locals armed with arrows. At this point, were it me, I’d be scurrying back to where I came from but this group is braver and dumber and they trudge on.

Turns out the men with the arrows are the least of their worries anyway.

Terrible things happen to them and they are forced to endure pain, suffering and each other’s insufferable company. That may be the worst fate of all. This whole scenario brings out the very worst in them which is completely understandable but after a while I became very tired of their bickering and stupid decisions. Your tolerance for this may be higher than mine seeing as I live with teenagers.

This tale of creeping dread and anguish is narrated by actor Patrick Wilson and that man is all business. He reads the story well enough but he doesn’t add anything extra to the story. I didn’t feel the terror emanating from his very soul but maybe I’m just jaded and cold. That’s probably it.

The atmosphere and description of the landscape are well done. The intense heat, the lack of food and proper shelter and the fear these dummies experience all come across and the body horror descriptions are exquisite and squirm worthy. At parts it is very tense and terrifying and for that I’ll give it a three.

Read in 2014

Comments

  1. You know I've seen this movie and have never had any desire to read the book. Usually that is't the case but after reading your review, I'm pretty glad I never took the time.

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    Replies
    1. I was very disappointed in it but everyone else seems to love it. I'm beginning to wonder if I should give up reading.

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  2. I expected the book to be better than it was. Bits were good but overall I wasn't impressed and gave it two stars. My dad likes the film but I haven't seen it.

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    Replies
    1. Oh good, I'm not the only who wasn't in love with this book! I enjoyed the movie much more than the book which isn't usually the case.

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  3. I thought this sounded familiar to me. I think I saw the movie.

    For What It's Worth

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  4. Always listen to the dog! If they ignored him I have a hard time feeling sorry for them lol. :)

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    Replies
    1. Seriously, they deserved a slow, pain-filled death for ignoring the dog!

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  5. I hated this book! It didn't work for me at all...unlikeable characters, no chance for escape, an unsatisfying, depressing ending...nope. Did not like it! In fact, I wish I had those hours of my life that I spent reading it back! :D

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  6. Have I seen this movie? I have no idea. Probably not. It is not a good sign when the characters start driving you crazy. I think I will avoid this one.

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    Replies
    1. The movie wasn't bad. Wish I could say the same for the source material.

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  7. Reading your review was fun. I can totally relate to your frustration with the characters and their stupid decisions. Ignoring the dog, seriously biggest mistake.

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    Replies
    1. It's never a good sign when I can't wait for the characters to meet their death.

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  8. I saw some horror movie once that I know involved ruins and plants I think? Not sure if it was this one though. I like the sound of the way the whole situation brought out the worst in the characters, I love seeing characters pushed to their limits, but they do sound kind of like idiots.

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  9. I'd rate the movie and the book about the same. The movie actually turned my stomach a bit and I got annoyed at the characters. But, you just never know what you'll do in the situation, will ya. LOL

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    Replies
    1. I would've listened to the dog and got the heck out of there :)

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