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“What happens when the ride really breaks?”
Genre: DUDE IT’S NOT A GAME Slashers
Year Released: 2017
Pedigree: Shudder Original
Where I Watched: Shudder
Synopsis: Nathan is stoked – this weekend is Slasher Sleepout, and while his BFF can’t make it, his girlfriend Alex is comimg along to fill the spot. But as the weekend progresses, things start to go from horror fan fun to outright terrifying. What’s really going on here?
Fabulous or Frustrating?: Horror movie fans will definitely be likening this film to an “and then there were none” 80s slasher that blended blood and fun. But Ruin isn’t gory enough to be a full slasher, nor is it comedic enough to hang its hat on dark comedy. It’s just a decent enough story whose twists and turns drive the story, rather than any interest in the characters or the motives of the Big Bad(s). The characters here are barely sketched, so when they start dropping off? It’s no big emotional deal.
For example, there’s Larry, the requisite horror junkie, played to nerdy normalcore perfection by Chris Hill. But Hill isn’t given much to do but spout movie quotes. As a horror fan, I should be rooting for him – as I did for Shelley in Friday the 13th part 3 – to not only survive but thrive. But nope. The plot doesn’t give us any back story beyond the typical brief boilerplate. Same goes for our leads Nathan and Alex; a counselor and a former rehab patient who have been together for a while and are maybe a little too blandly comfortable with each other. That’s all we get. The others? A goth couple (because of course), and The Cypher (I’m still trying to figure out what his deal was. A paying customer? A decoy? We’re never told.) In a story with six main characters, there should have been plenty of time to dig into what makes them tick. Instead, it’s just posturing, padding, and a hint of more depth for Alex that never gets fleshed out.
Not to say Ruin isn’t interesting. The writers do subvert expectations every chance they get, which makes for a good time when that happens. And there’s a beach scene that hints at how good this film could have been. But while there are interesting ideas here, twists are the only thing we end up with. Ruin isn’t funny or deep enough to be a satire, played a bit too seriously for a fun romp. Still, if you’re in the mood for something predictable and easy (even with all those twists)? You could do worse.
Freak-O-Meter: 2.5 out of 5 Freaks