Plot: Alex (Marcienne Dwyer) has agreed to participate in Slasher Sleepout, a camping trip with a haunted house twist that is designed to let horror movie fans feel like they’re in a slasher flick. She has no interest in horror movies whatsoever, but her boyfriend Nathan (Matt Dellapina) persuaded her to go with him, after his friend canceled at the last minute. The couple meets a colorful group of fellow Slasher Sleepout clients before things kick off, from hipster goth lovers to a horror junkie who can’t wait to be stalked, then the festivities kick off. No phones, just a murder mystery that unfolds in the eerie woods and while Alex isn’t a horror buff, she has a knack for solving the puzzles and clues, to say the least. But when the event starts to take some odd, even dark turns, is it all just part of the Slasher Sleepout experience or has the group wandered into a real life slasher movie in the creepy forest?
Entertainment Value: Ruin Me isn’t a bad movie, but it makes no effort to rise above the typical, fan service type horror movie. This one packs in all the usual tropes and never even tries to be creative or unpredictable, so you can see how it all ends before it really starts, with little effort. I also dislike the constant horror movie references, especially since any of the films discussed would be a more enjoyable watch, so Ruin Me reminding viewers of better movies is an odd approach. But I know some love all the references and the movie is never “meta” in the least, so it remains a straight ahead slasher movie with no real curves. The narrative isn’t bad, but again it never tries to even put new twists on the tired concepts it explores, so we’re left with a mediocre, unoriginal horror movie. I liked some of the attempts at psychological horror weaved in, but the writing and cast aren’t strong enough to make those threads hold up. Marcienne Dwyer is passable in the lead, but doesn’t handle the role well once she needs to convey mental distress, which defuses much of the tension. I also think the comic relief attempts fall flat, so while watchable, Ruin Me never rises above that mediocre mark.
The movie has one brief topless scene, but that’s all the sleaze, though more tame sexual content is common. The goth girl has a strong sexual vibe and seems to want to conquer all in her path, but Ruin Me pulls back on the sleaze elements. The same holds true for the bloodshed, as despite being a slasher movie about slasher movie fanatics, Ruin Me offers minimal violence and little of the red stuff. A number of scenes have off screen violence and aftermath blood, but there’s little kinetic carnage on showcase and very little active gore is seen. The dialogue is forgettable and mostly basic, with a lot of horror movie references mixed in. These references do little other than list titles of well known genre cinema, so if you expect the horror movie elements to become “meta” or a real part of the narrative, no such luck. Just some hipster characters name dropping famous horror movies. The craziness is limited as well, even when Ruin Me seems poised to go off the deep end, it reels things back in. Given how tame and predictable the movie is, any of these elements being juiced up could have at least made this a fun watch, but the film is content to just go through the motions.
Overall Insanity: 1/10