The Ruins by Scott B. Smith

The Ruins - Scott B. Smith

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 people. 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.