The Ruins by Scott Smith
June 15, 2023 8:07 AM - Subscribe

Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine in “the best horror novel of the new century” (Stephen King). Also a major motion picture!

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.

[blurb from publisher's website, previously]
posted by quatsch (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just read this as part of Spookish Mommy's Horror Summer Camp book club (Discord link)! Definitely not for the squeamish, there's a lot of body horror in here. Despite severely disliking most of the characters (and a fair amount of men-writing-women eyerolls), I ended up really liking this book! There's something so compelling about being inside a character's head as they convince themselves to make terrible decisions. I vaguely recall seeing the movie and not caring for it (though it's suspiciously absent from my Letterboxd account), so I'm interested to revisit to see how it compares to the book.
posted by quatsch at 8:12 AM on June 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

This yarn was a hoot and a holler! I very much enjoyed it.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 3:52 PM on June 15, 2023

I didn’t like this book, largely because the characters are all such unpleasant people.
posted by PaulVario at 3:56 AM on June 16, 2023

Read this a long time ago. Yes, the characters are unpleasant, but they are supposed to be. Agreed that the "selfish American" trope can be annoying—however true it might be—but that was the point. You have to make this take place in the 1980s or so when that part of the Yuacatan wasn't nearly as populated, paved, "developed," and exploited as it is today. I thought it was a fun, gross-out horror story. But I did remember wishing it was more about the ruins versus the... well, no spoilers.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:55 AM on June 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

I read this a while back, and remember very little besides the broad strokes of it.

But when they realized what the chirp chirp chirp of a cell phone actually was... I remember the cold trickle that went down my spine.
posted by Etrigan at 10:15 AM on June 16, 2023 [2 favorites]

Scott Smith also wrote A Simple Plan, and it's interesting to me that he would write a noir-ish rural thriller that gets made into a movie, then, years later, write a sci-fi-leaning vacation survival horror thriller that... gets made into a movie.

The two books are very different, but also kind of alike.
posted by box at 3:55 PM on June 18, 2023

So I also read this as part of Spookish Mommy's horror summer camp. For me the first 50 pages were such a slog because I disliked these characters and holy bad choices batman! But once things started happening, really I got into it. The body horror is VERY compelling, but also the pacing in terms of revealing what they are up against is fabulously well done. Glad I kept pushing my way through to get to the good stuff!
posted by miss-lapin at 5:52 PM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

I also realized the Mayans must be pissed when the Greeks showed up because they just got back from there and now they have to return and set up camp again!
posted by miss-lapin at 5:56 AM on June 23, 2023

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