I’ve reviewed at least one or two “extreme” haunted house horror movies lately, and they mostly leave me to conclude that, nah, I don’t want to go to one of those whether it’s a front for a shadowy serial killer ring or not, because I have no interest in taking a chance that they might use the spider shower ploy.
But then Ruin Me comes along, and it actually works on me. The idea is, you signed up for a horror movie weekend. That is, the small group of you thrown together by ticket purchase timing have signed your waivers and been given your safewords, and now you’re dumped off in the woods to survive the weekend. Since that’s clearly not enough to go on, there’s also a gamified escape room aspect to it, where you have to follow clues that lead you into the horror movie proper. Just sitting against a tree waiting for a killer to show up would be pretty boring to film, you know?
Here’s what makes it work, as both a viewer and as a prospective client of the real life version of the concept: there’s a real and to an extent insurmountable tension between the “is this so real because, oh shit, it’s real?!” and “man, they are doing an exceptional job here, which, honestly: if they weren’t, why did I pay so much?” scenarios.
The execution here was not quite perfect, but I’ll forgive a lot when you can keep me guessing for this long and it’s not because you just cheated to get me there.