Ruin Me ★½

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Preston DeFrancis’ self-aware slasher flick 'Ruin Me' is deficient in all the usual ways that mark a low-budget indie horror feature: tin-eared dialog, tedious characters, cringe-inducing “humor,” and stilted performances. Yet, for all its flaws, the film still has one undeniably gratifying hook: It its devilishly difficult to discern exactly what kind of horror film one is watching. Thirtysomething protagonist Alex (Marchienne Dwyer) and boyfriend Nathan (Matt Dellapina) are spending their weekend at a “Slasher Sleepaway” experience — part haunted house, part escape room, part live-action game – that starts to go seriously off the rails in aptly bloody fashion. As clumsy as the rest of the film is, DeFrancis and co-writer Trysta A. Bisset keep the viewer guessing to the end. Is it a meta-textual horror-fantasy ('Final Girls')? A didactic death trap ('Saw')? An immersive role-playing experience ('The Game')? A therapy session gone wrong ('Shudder Island')? A gigantic con ('April Fool’s Day')? The conclusion is both far more banal and far more unsettling than one expects.