SHUDDER & SHRIEK: four sleek and stylized slashers

From throwbacks to thought-provoking, this Shudder selection hit my watchlist just when I was really in need of a good slasher fix. So which ones did the trick?


This German language film is available in an English dubbed version on Shudder if you don’t feel like reading.

The director of Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies brings us a slasher with a post-Scream era feel that’s loaded with horror lighting, pretty people, some man butt, and dance music (including a cover of the Gigi D’Agostino classic “I’ll Fly With You”). It’s also so derivative that even one of the kids references their dilemma as an I Know What You Did Last Summer situation.

A group of friends is away at a party island when a masked killer begins picking them off one by one. As the friends wonder where their missing friends are, the main girl keeps getting texted pics of the missing friends with an X through their faces.

There are a couple of suspenseful scenes and some brutal gore, but there aren’t actually many kills before the killer faces off against all the survivors, so this really doesn’t satisfy much as a slasher.

It’s not even much of a whodunit, even though it tries to throw numerous red herring into the mix. Plus, there are way too many details glossed over that demand way too much suspension of disbelief.

There is some gay stuff. Early on it’s derogatory “fag” slinging, but right before the end there’s a pointless coming out that isn’t even used as a plot device during the film, not even to shine suspicion on the character. Leave it up to the gay to make the slasher all about him at the last second. It does land this one on my does the gay guy die? page.

***WARNING SPOILERS*** There is also a non-explicit, double anal rape with a bottle.

RUIN ME (2017)

Ruin Me had me right up until the end. A couple joins a “slasher sleepout weekend” in the woods. A small group of people is dumped in the middle of nowhere after signing a waiver and then gets to experience living (or dying) in a backwoods slasher. The final guy or girl takes all.

The group includes a big geek, a goth couple, and a bearded cute guy. Of course everyone has issues, including the main girl, but they mostly work cooperatively at first. There are some tits, furry man chest, and some cheap masked killer scares. My kind of movie.

But then the main girl starts to believe they’re really being chased and killed off. Of course no one believes her…until it’s too late. Shit gets crazy for a while with some good slashing action, and even goes into Saw style, self-serving decision dilemmas.

I can’t say which movie, but as the film nears the end it did what I feared it was going to do—it uses the twist from an absolute classic 1980s slasher. And because any slasher fan will see it coming from a mile away, it tries to undo the twist, but that effort falls totally flat, making for a bland denouement. Even so, the fun part was super fun while it lasted, which was almost until the end…


This movie is an example of why I usually like my slashers to be mindless, simplistic fun. They can be clever and have some twists (for instance here, where each girl is being chased by a different killer), but when they try too hard to be totally unique or more complex than the usual, I just get a headache.

The good—a bunch of girls is dumped in the woods to be chased by a load of freaky-assed killers, and the practical gore effects are bloody awesome. The entire movie dares to take place in full daylight with that washed out look where only very few colors—like blood red—stand out in contrast to the bright whites and dark blacks.

Also, the girls don’t fuck around as they go from working with each other to turning on each other—whatever it takes to kill their killers.

The plot is the nightmare. I don’t want to give too much away, but what is so annoying to me is how ridiculously capable the main girl is of figuring out exactly what is going on and how to take down the powers that put her and the other innocent women in this position to begin with. Hell, she figures it out better than I did, because I was left with plenty of questions when it was all over.


Inspired by actual killings of teens in a tent in 1960, this one initially sounds like it’s going for a basic Friday the 13th plot. But there’s no masked killer, and it quickly becomes more complicated when it focuses on only 2 guys and 2 girls camping at the scene of the crime, with the boys determined to recreate how the original murders could have happened.

As we get the sense someone is watching them in the woods, we learn the main girl went through something traumatic, so she seriously has trust issues. She begins to think all three of her friends are up to no good.

And then the killing begins. With so few characters it’s hard to imagine how the movie is going to fill the time. So naturally, it has to go off the rails! Just when you think shit is going in a High Tension direction, it takes another completely exhausting turn. There are definitely a lot of detours in order for this film to avoid being a straightforward slasher…which it would be without all the turns since it circles right back to where it was originally heading! Does that make any sense?

While there’s excessive exposition, there’s not much in the way of gore, and not much in the way of scares or suspense, yet Lake Bodom is still atmospheric and entertaining. Not entertaining enough that I’d ever feel the need to watch it again, though.

Yes, I know. I have mixed emotions about this one.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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