Grimmfest 2017: Ruin Me

Continuing the action on opening night at Grimmfest 2017, Manchester’s annual horror film festival, was the meta-slasher film Ruin Me.

It’s very difficult not to enjoy the type of film that Ruin Me is. Whenever a horror film is smart enough to successfully play on and make fun of tropes that have been staples in slasher horror filmmaking since the sub-genre’s boom in the late 1970s, it brings a big smile to fans of the genre’s faces.

First time feature director, Preston DeFrancis’ film succeeds in presenting us with an incredibly intriguing premise and a story filled to the brim with one bizarre twist after another that comes out of the other side as an entertaining and definitely very fun film.

Where Ruin Me falls just short of brilliance sadly, is the script and performances. There are certainly some very strong points in both these aspects but the unevenness of them at various points in the film makes for some scenes that feel quite ‘off’.

The meta-horror film has been done so well many times before most prominently in the late horror directing icon Wes Craven’s Scream in 1996 and more recently in Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s 2014 vampire ‘mockumentary’ What We Do in the Shadows.

To put Ruin Me up with such meta horror greats seems a step too far but it doesn’t fall too far behind. If the dialogue at times hadn’t felt as fake then it would be easy to put it right up there. The film deserves a lot of credit for the remarkably unique story alone.

It is the story of Alex (Marcienne Dwyer) who, at the request of her boyfriend Nathan (Matt Dellapina) joins him on a ‘slasher sleepover’ weekend, the slasher equivalent of a night in a haunted house. The weekend, as you may expect, begins to take an unexpected turn and we are posed with the question of whether people are actually dying or is it all just part of the game!?

This is taken to the next level when we are lead to believe that Alex herself may be a bigger part of the plot than she realises.

It would be understandable to hear that this film went one twist too far but that’s not necessarily the case. Ruin Me already had a wonderfully insane plot before the final five minutes and that last one simply adds to the craziness.

The premise of the film; the idea of this ‘slasher sleepover’ weekend seems perfect for an 8-10 episode series that would give enough time to really flesh out characters and make every twist seem that much more effective.

Not only this, but it would also dedicate time to what was perhaps the strongest part of this film, the puzzle solving as the group begin their weekend together and are attempting to progress with the fake plot they have been put in.

If you enjoy it when horror can make fun of itself or simply like your horror with that hint of complete insanity, then you should be keeping your eyes open for Ruin Me.

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