Monday, December 31, 2007

Don't watch this trailer

As this Monsterfest blog post notes, here be spoilers for the film version of Scott Smith's the Ruins. If you watch you will learn a few too many things about the book, so do as Monsterfest suggests and just read the book.

This excellent horror novel suffered from overhype (notably from the Stephen write-up on Amazon,) but it remains one of the most distressing and disturbing horror novels in years. The book is not for most people, but for those longing for a horror story with a moral core, this is a good choice.

It has a genuine sympathy with its characters that so much of the torture porn that stands in for horror lacks. I suppose it is this complicity with the killers that Haneke is getting at with his controversial Funny Games. This sympathy for the devil is what spoiled the follow-ons to Silence of the Lambs and the rise of evil anti-heroes like Jigsaw.

The characters who find themselves trapped in a Mayan ruin are real and their suffering is often a challenge to read. It isn't a book for everyone, but if you want to see how regular people might face a fantastic doom, then this is your book.

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