Ruin Me – USA, 2017

‘They paid to be scared. They didn’t know how much it would cost them.’

Ruin Me is a 2017 American satirical slasher horror feature film directed by Preston DeFrancis, making his feature debut, from a screenplay co-written with Trysta A. Bissett. The Terror Weekend Productions film stars Marcienne Dwyer, Matt Dellapina and Chris Hill.

Every Halloween, more extreme haunted attractions open for business, each promising even more thrills. Some have taken this to a whole new level. Welcome to Slasher Sleepout: The Ultimate Horror Movie Experience. It’s part camping trip, part haunted house, and part escape room, all rolled into one extreme 36-hour event.

Six strangers are hooded, dropped in the middle of the woods, and must navigate increasingly strange and dangerous mysteries. Alexandra (Marcienne Dwyer), the only participant who has never even seen a horror film, reluctantly tags along with her boyfriend.

One by one, the other campers meet grisly fates, and Alex must unravel the mystery of who’s responsible if she wants to have any hope of survival…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“Marcienne Dwyer is the stand out as she grapples with her past and also the other contestants, she’s like an update of the 21st century final girl. Things aren’t too serious either, Ruin Me is very much a fun ride with some dark twists and turns which keep you entertained until its gut wrenching finale.” Paul Downey, Bloody Flicks

Ruin Me, like last year’s Frightfest Discovery screen gem, The Unravelling is an illusion of the film you think you’re watching. Except with Ruin Me, you know it’s meant to trick you. However, it won’t help you as it keeps you guessing and moving the goal posts until the very end.” Stuart Wright, Britflicks

“Days, nights, exteriors, interiors, and even underwater shots, “Ruin Me” packs all that it can into its story, staging, performances, and technical execution.  “Ruin Me” may not make it to the top of the heap of humorous horror thrillers, but it does climb high as an admirable indie effort.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

“There are numerous gimmicks but they’re appropriate for the plot, so horror fans get to have their cake and eat it. Importantly, there is substance underlying this, with observations about addiction, misogyny and the way people treat junkies that introduce a different level of horror.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Like Scream these characters know the horror cliches and the film plays with them a bit too. But what it also gets right, is that the characters are allowed to develop before the horror kicks in. Most films of this type tend to have a very quick opening kill then settle down for a bit. Here though, the film takes its time, as much a mystery as horror as the kills mostly happen off screen.” Kevin Crighton, The Film Grump

“I am very impressed and genuinely loved Ruin Me […]The only thing I could’ve done without in Ruin Me is the final plot twist. For me, the movie was stronger without it – even though it does make for an awesome final scene.” Karina Adelgaard, Heaven of Horror

“The plot is full of baffling mysteries that challenge both the audience and the characters alike. Some of these puzzling events turn out to be real, while others are simply part of the game. Trying to figure out what’s actually going on is a big part of the movie’s appeal.” John Migliore, Indie Horror Online

“Director Preston DeFrancis, who co-wrote with Trysta A. Bissett, layers in a thread about relationships […] but also enjoy the post-modern ingenuity of roleplay, down to having a character quoting from Scream or deadpanning ‘a lot of great horror films start at old gas stations’.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“There are elements that aren’t super strong, such as some of the performances aren’t totally on point, the special effects could be considered a little weak and, personally, I thought the cast was “bumped off” a little too quickly. But in honesty, I’m probably nit-picking. I had an absolute riot watching Ruin Me and will definitely be watching it again…” The London Horror Society

“Featuring rich characterisation, unexpected revelations, breath-taking cinematography, slick editing, implied gore, mind trickery and the challenging of slasher conventions. When you think it’s all over the twists and turns come thick and fast. It takes something special in order to connect with a slasher film in today’s day and age but Ruin Me effectively pulls it out of the bag.” Love Me

“It’s when the film starts to veer away from the fun and changes gears about half way through that it doesn’t work as well. There are some plausibility issues, and it doesn’t take much to figure out the final twist well in advance. It’s not horrible, but it takes a really good premise and spoils it by failing to come through with an ending as interesting as the core idea.” Adelaide Blair, The MacGuffin

” …as the events begin to unfold and the situation becomes more dire, Bissett and DeFrancis trade fan service and wit for tension and misdirection. This allows the film to transition from something akin to a horror/comedy into a full-blown thrill ride. It’s impressive.” Luke Rodriguez, Modern Horrors

” …Ruin Me actually leaves audiences questioning their expectations, in much the same way as the films heroine Alex constantly questions what’s real and what’s not… Led by a fantastic central performance by Marcienne Dwyer as Alex, Ruin Me certainly lived up to my expectations, even whilst it tried to subvert them!” Phil Wheat, Nerdly

“Although on the surface Ruin Me is a fun slasher-style thriller, there are some more serious topics lurking underneath. For example, controlling relationships feature, especially in the way vulnerable people can easily be taken advantage of. Trust and openness are shown as being somewhat double-edged, as people are not always as they seem (and some may want to be “open” just on their terms).” Alice Field, Ready Steady Cut

“When the movie gets dark there are a few heavy scenes that might mindf*ck you if you’ve been through an abusive relationship. Other than that, though? Hell yeah I would recommend it! I enjoyed the shit out of Ruin Me. It’s a well crafted psychological thriller combined with a solid slasher flick which is a killer combination.” Tennessee Horror News 

Choice dialogue:

“I’m not really a cherry chapstick kinda girl.”

“You know, I honestly can’t waste to f*ck you without hearing you whine about it all of the time.”

Cast and characters:

  • Marcienne Dwyer …  Alex – Dracula: The Impaler
  • Matt Dellapina … Nathan
  • Chris Hill … Larry
  • Eva Hamilton … Marina – Ouija House; Peeping Tom (short)
  • John Odom … Pitch
  • Sam Ashdown … Jared
  • Cameron Gordon … Tim
  • Rocky Rector … The Host – Return of the Dead
  • Tom Harryman … The Hobo
  • Alex Galick … The Skinny Kid – The Horror
  • Trenton Colbert … The Cop
  • Traver Johnson … Key Slashy
  • Jerry Maxwell … Slashy
  • Tim Taylor … Slashy
  • The After Effect … The Slasher Sleepout Band

Filming locations:

Muskegon, Michigan, USA

Running time:

87 minutes

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Categories: 2017, slasher

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