Ruin Me (2017) [Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2017]

A non-fan joins a group going to Slasher Sleepout, a camp experienced based on slasher films, when a friend could not attend. As things take a turn for the worse and fake death becomes real, she must fight for her life and participate in this activity she definitely does not care for.

Directed by Preston DeFrancis who co-wrote with Trysta A. Bissett, together they create a story that has many twists and turns and that with the usual slasher film tropes and adds a few other ideas to the mix, some from other sub-genres and others brand new. The film takes all of this and their semi-cliché characters and makes them work together to create a film with some mystery and some fear, but no real dread. The story works, but it will definitely work better for casual viewers of the genre. The scares are not all that scary but the film does work as a whole and is decently entertaining.

The cast here is good, the parts are not particularly complex or layers in some case, but the actors and actresses are making the most of it. The lead of Alex is the one meatier part with more background to her and a few more layers. Actress Marcienne Dwyer does good work with the part and makes the odd twists and turns and the sometimes forced storyline feel more natural for her character while never giving up on trying to survive. She takes the part and makes her into an interesting final girl but also a bit of a puzzling one at times. Her character is built in an odd manner and this both works and does not work at different times in the film.

The film has some good ideas and is a somewhat slasher, but it does not have all that much in terms of special effects. The kills are not particularly numerous and some take place off-screen. What there is though is good. The practical effects here are credited to sfx artist Bec Johnson and special effects technician Dave Lowing with visual effects by Sean M. Wells. They work is good and has decent blood while adding to the horror camping experience on the screen. It does make the viewer want to see more of it though and perhaps a more complex kill or two.

Ruin Me is a slasher film at its basis with twists and turns along the way. It does take a twist into the really dark near the end of the film, but before that one, it’s a lot of twists that lead nowhere really and become frustrating as they accumulate with no real results or no real impact on the story and its ending. The lead is interesting enough and gives a good performance showing the strength to survive, to do what must be done comes into play when one is desperately in danger. Ruin Me does not really bring a bunch of new things to the slasher sub-genre or to whatever sub-genre it is actually a part of, but it does have good ideas and some really good scenes. It is both original and manages to feel a bit generic as it goes along. It’s a fun watch, but not a particularly memorable one.

Ruin Me is playing at the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival. Tickets for the rest of the fest can be purchased at https://filmfreeway.com/festival/PhiladelphiaUnnamedFilmFestival/tickets