The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real (2020) Movie Review – Horror on Tubi
Heading into the Vancouver woods. Three social media personalities are determined to dispel an urban legend. It is said that a tree located deep in the woods. Has the ability to transport people to another dimension. Becoming a recent online viral trend, the so called "tree game" involves circling the tree before disappearing. Ruby Real aims to debunk the trendy myth and gain a few followers in the process. Only, it appears there may be more to the legend than she thought.
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Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another entry in our Horror on Tubi feature. Today we are reviewing Found Footage horror The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real from 2020. For those of you who don’t know. June has been Horror on Tubi month. For the entire month, the only horror movies we are reviewing. Are scraped from the bottom of free streaming service Tubi’s barrel.
We are only interested in the lowest of the low budget. If it has a crappy cover; we are there. If the plot sounds ridiculous; we want to watch it. If it has a terrible title like The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real; we are checking it out. If it was filmed during the Covid Lockdown, even better. As you may be able to guess, today’s movie ticks all of those boxes.
Awful Low Budget Horror
Now I have to encourage you to go check out this Horror on Tubi feature before we start. Let’s be real, many of us are struggling with finances at the moment. The cost of living has shot up. Streaming services are an un-necessary expense that many have shunned. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on horror, though. There have been some very watchable movies that you can check out completely free on Tubi.
ReSet, Lexi and Death of a Vlogger are all pretty good. Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism is genuinely great. Yesterday’s movie, The Andy Baker Tape, was also an easy recommend. Having been filmed during the Covid lockdown and turning out to be pretty good.
The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real (God I hate that title) was also filmed during the Covid lockdown. That’s where the similarities end. This movie is not an easy recommend. This movie is not pretty good; this movie is shit. Just… Shit. Let’s take a look!
Social Media Themes
As you may be able to tell. The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real taps into that “oh so common” found footage trope of social media. There are so many of these movies around at the moment. Some of them, like Deadstream and Lexi, are decent. Others, like Followers and Shook, are not. The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real, like the aforementioned movies, focuses on a group of social media influencers.
Heading into the Vancouver woods. Three social media personalities are determined to dispel an urban legend. It is said that a tree located deep in the woods. Has the ability to transport people to another dimension. Becoming a recent online viral trend, the so called “tree game” involves circling the tree before disappearing. Ruby Real aims to debunk the trendy myth and gain a few followers in the process. Only, it appears there may be more to the legend than she thought.
You should be preparing yourself for a lot of the annoying YouTube style tropes that come along with these movies. Expect vlog style presentation. Lots of excited conversations with the camera. “Witty” commentary and the occasional request to like and subscribe. It’s all extremely familiar and dish water dull in its presentation. The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real brings nothing new to the table.
Devoid of Scares
The vast majority of this story takes place in the woods. A classic setting for a horror movie, right? Exactly! The woods are creepy; there are plenty of opportunities for scares. The scene sets itself. Only, these woods aren’t creepy at all. In fact, they are beautiful. The movie takes place in the height of day with plenty of lighting and beaming sun. The woods are open and inviting. Full of gorgeous streams and scenic vistas. It all just looks like a pleasant day out.
Which speaks to one of The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real’s major problems. This movie just isn’t at all scary. Sure, if you buy into its story, you may feel a little creeped out. But the story itself is so poorly formulated. Relying heavily on one specific element. That there is very little to invest in. Scenes featuring characters acting strangely are peppered in to unsettle. But it really doesn’t work at all. Prompting laughter on more than one occasion rather than the desired scares. It’s all incredibly bland and very boring.
Full of Tropes
My fiancee and I played a found footage horror drinking game, that we made, while watching this. We did the same thing with The Andy Baker Tape and went straight onto The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real. The basic idea is to take a drink whenever a certain found footage trope takes place. We had hit over 20 tropes in under 25 minutes while watching this. Leaving us with a pretty serious buzz and some slight concern about how much worse it would get.
The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real hits on practically every found footage horror trope going. Bringing almost nothing new to the table. It wears its influences on its sleeve. Something that is all too apparent as it basically recreates The Blair Witch Project condensed into one afternoon. Everything here is so painfully familiar and incredibly lacking in innovation. All Found Footage is guilty of this to some extent. But this movie takes it to a whole new level. I suppose some praise has to go to its plot. But even that feels like the plot of Blair Witch just with a different explanation.
Attempts to bring some, poorly fleshed out, science fiction and Lovecraftian elements to the story fall flat. Leading the movie into a cycle of stuttering and repeating itself. All while the characters act oblivious to what is going on. In fact, it takes our cast nearly the entire movie to realise what is going on. By then, its too late for them to do anything about it. And it is too late for the viewer to give a shit. Especially considering the fact that most people will realise what is happening 15 minutes in.
It really doesn’t help that the characters here are utterly unlikable. Ruby Real acts like many social media personalities. Over the top and obnoxiously loud. Feeling completely two dimensional and impossible to care about. Her co-host, and camera operator, Steven Lane. Is awkward, lacking in personality and uses the word “Same” so much you want to strangle him by thirty minutes in. And their third wheel Cali Carson seems like she is only there because the actor who plays her agreed to appear in a g-string.
Acting is equally as bad. Zachary Macdonald, who plays Steven, is completely unbelievable as a social media influencer. The guy struggles so much when it comes to looking at the camera. It was actually putting me on edge. His eyes skip around like he is in the middle of peddling Fentanyl laced cocaine to kids. Not to mention his complete lack of personality.
Taylor Pfeifer also seems a little awkward on camera. While having more personality than Steven and, let’s not forget, showing off her underwear. She still feels a bit unnatural and a bit uncomfortable in her line delivery. Some of that may be the script or having to improvise. But it is noticeable in a number of parts. Jennifer Tong seems to be a lot more experienced and far more comfortable on camera than her costars. She does an okay job despite her fairly unlikable character.
Direction is incredibly mixed. Whereas I can give credit for the short runtime and shooting the movie in difficult times. There are a lot of issues here. Pacing feels all over the place. The movie seems to repeat itself even more than is necessary for a time loop film. There are too many scenes where little happens. And Matt Kincses resorts to having his characters engage in shouting matches far too often. Much like The Blair Witch Project but without the long, drawn out, build up and the slow brewing interpersonal tension.
Some direction could have sorely been used when it comes to performances. A brief word to Macdonald to engage his eyes on the camera would have been helpful. A few scenes really needed reshooting as well given what takes place. A scene where Cali runs up to one of the characters feels really awkward. Impacting the scare factor majorly. Characters teleporting all over the place looks utterly ridiculous, as well.
Final Thoughts and Score
This is just another one of those Found Footage horror movies that people would point to as an example of how bad found footage is. Poorly developed and annoying characters. Sub-standard acting. A silly plot with no scares. And absolutely no reason to invest in what is happening. Despite some, potentially, interesting themes, there is so little to recommend here.
The woods are not at all intimidating. There are an enormous amount of tropes and the movie feels far too close to its influences. There are many found footage horror movies better than this. I can appreciate that this was likely made during Covid and faced a tough production. But it feels like a low quality film student movie. Very fitting for our Low Budget Horror on Tubi feature. I am going to suggest you don’t walk around this tree. Lest you get stuck in a parallel dimension with Ruby Real.
If you are looking for some better Found Footage. Why not check out some of the movies below? We have just reviewed free Tubi horror The Andy Baker Tape which was actually watchable so why not check out that review? We also put together a list of 25 Lesser Known Found Footage horror movies. You should be able to find something you like. Thanks for reading!
Trailer: The Lost Vlog of Ruby Real (2020)
|Release Date:||20th October 2020|
|Movie Type:||Horror, Found Footage, Science Fiction|
|Movie Length:||60 Min|
|Starring:||Jennifer Tong, Zachary Macdonald, Taylor Pfeifer|
|Directed By:||Matt Kincses|
|Written By:||Matt Kincses|
|Produced By:||Matt Kincses, Marta Piaseczna|
|Parental Guidance:||Brief Mild Female Nudity, Language|