Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Ruins, by Scott Smith

(pb; 2006)

From the back cover:

"Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation -- sun-drenched days, wild 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 a terrifying presence that lurks there."


Smith has crafted an excellent, creepy novel that steadily ratchets up the terror factor. His characters' quirks, flaws, and interaction ring true and intense; clearly, Smith built the tale around the characters, who become as familiar to the reader as one's friends or family.

Now, if only Smith had put the same thoughtfulness and energy into creating an ending that was as interesting or intense as his characters. While logical, this horror-cliche ending is predictable and lazy compared to the rest of the book. It didn't exactly ruin the dark joy of reading what came before it, but it did make me want to pass it on to a fellow horror aficionado rather than keep it.

Worth reading, despite that minor end-flaw.

The Ruins hit the American silver screen on April 4, 2008. Jonathan Tucker played Jeff Mcintire. Jena Malone played Amy. Laura Ramsey played Stacy. Shawn Ashmore played Eric. Joe Anderson played Mathias. Carter Smith directed the film, from a script by author Scott Smith.

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