Slender Man – Review


Slender Man is essentially a modern myth that was created for a photoshop competition. That’s really all there is to him. A tonne of people claim there is some reality to him but, no, investigation has found he was just a photoshop competition entry. This later transitioned into a mobile game, which would also spark a lot of people’s interest. The character and the concept do work as a whole and it has shown up in several independent films, including the series Marble Hornets and Everyman HYBRID, those series actually still hold up pretty well. Despite the fact I have kind of given away the big twist that Slender Man is there, it’s still worth a watch, because there are tonnes of little Easter eggs early on. Independent studios have taken a shot at putting the character in his own movie, such as Canadas shot at it with Windigo, which is not a great film and just looks like it was cheap to shoot.

Slender Man is the first big budget Hollywood film to put an attempt at it. It’s actually Sony Pictures who have taken on the task and handing it off to screen gems. In the Director’s chair we have Sylvian White, honestly, I have tried to find something of his that I’ve actually watched, and I’ve found nothing. The major reason being… he is not a film director, apart from TV series, this is his first big budget feature. He directed shows like Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist and one episode of CSI: Miami. Oh, and also one episode of the Lethal Weapon TV series which I still haven’t seen.

This has probably been one of the most advertised horror movies in recent memory, but even then, I find it was really only advertised at the beginning of the year. I actually forgot this film was even coming out until 2 weeks ago when I saw a random trailer for it on YouTube. I know I like to be ambiguous but Slender Man does not get a good start in Hollywood.

Ok… The film was about 4 girls: Wren, Hallie, Chloe and Katie played by Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair and Annalise Basso who all one night follow a website video, I’m not joking that’s actually what they call it because they didn’t get the rights to use YouTube, which is probably a good thing, because YouTube knew to run miles from this. They use this video to summon Slender Man, because apparently that’s what teenagers do. The problem is when the man starts invading their syce and then Katie goes missing without any sight of her whatsoever.

The trailer did not fill me with expectation but oh boy did I not realise how bad Slender Man was going to be. The one thing that surprised me most about this film, it’s not a found footage movie. This is really surprising considering that most Slender Man works prior to this found footage concept. This is the one character with a found footage concept that really works. But, then again if they had have done that with this environment I expect they would have been accused with ripping off The Blair Witch Project, believe me whatever you think of The Blair Witch Project, this film is nowhere near as good as that movie. In fact, the film rips from a number of sources, most notably with the use of the branches, Sylvian White has clearly watched a lot of Evil Dead.

This is some of the worst special effects I have seen in recent horror movies, not only is there a lack of creativity with the Slender Man gimmick, the actresses give appalling performances, which I don’t want to blame them for because the script is terrible, they are clearly working their best with what they’ve got, but this film is BORING! It’s been a long time since I’ve been bored by a horror film. I think the last time I was this bored was when I went to see unfriended, even then there was more happening than there is in Slender Man. You know how those horror films pick a protagonist and stick with it, ok, you occasionally get the fake out protagonist who dies really early, Wes Craven liked to use that a lot, but this film doesn’t even pick one. It kind of starts out having Wren in that role, Joey King is slightly recognisable, especially since she’s been in the Conjuring, Independence Day: Resurgence and The Flash, but then the film changes its mind half way through and has Hayley as the main Protagonist. Now people reading this won’t realise that when I was constructing that sentence, I had to go back to the IMDB page to look up the name of the character. These characters are so nothing, even by horror movie standards. At least in the classic horror films they gave their characters some quirks. I couldn’t tell you a thing about these people. I think there was a whole thing about Hayley having a track and field thing, that goes nowhere. Katie has an alcoholic father, that’s relevant only for the first 10/20 minutes of the film, they don’t even use that as a sort of fake out idea- that he might have killed her and the Slender Man thing is all in their heads. Nope, Slender Man is definitely real, the fact that he could have been in their heads is what makes Slender Man such a good idea.

The worst part about this film is the DIABOLICAL script. This is one of the worst scrips for a horror film I have seen in a long time. In fact, it’s one of the worst scripts I’ve seen in a long time. There’re tonnes of plot points that go absolutely nowhere. The film is way to jump scare heavy, but its sign posted by jump scares so heavily that they have no effectiveness of jump scare standards. If you jumped to this film, you clearly haven’t seen many horror films in recent memory, because they really signpost when these things are going to happen. I didn’t jump once during this film, usually the worst jump scares can pull that off, then I hate myself because I realise that is NOT scary. How many times do I have to say this in my reviews, JUMP SCARES ARE NOT SCARY, THEY ARE STARTLING. As I mentioned before there is really no creativity, the most creative thing the film does is have Slender Man stalk his victims using FaceTime which is a rather shameless plug for iPhones and also makes me really question how Slender Man is doing that… what, did he go into Carphone Warehouse to take out a deal. Here is the real kicker, these scenes are few and far between. It also kind of goes against the Slender Man myth though, since the character is supposed to be able to interfere with technology, he shouldn’t be able to use it like that. The woods as a motif could have potentially been a good idea, but again, looks like scenes they have ripped form Blaire Witch and the Evil Dead, not helped by the fact both have had new entries in the last few years.

The effects are atrocious. They couldn’t even get Slender Man right. He looks so poorly rendered half the time. I could forgive this if it was a found footage film and he was interfering with the technology, similar to how they did in Windigo, but what the hell was this! Maybe it’s something about the cinema I saw it in, but this film is way too dark in its lighting, there was scenes I could barely even see. I know it’s a horror film and its supposed to be dark but I can’t see the movie. There was points where I was begging for a day time shot. Also, you’re supposed to have Slender Man subtly appear in the background, it warrants repeat viewings. Marble Hornets and EverymanHYBRID got this right, there are several shots where Slender Man can be seen in the background, with the tension being pulled to him. The film doesn’t pull that off very often, even when it does it’s too blatant. There is also a boyfriend character that is introduced later on down the line, but he doesn’t really do anything. There’s some hinting if you looked at the video, does that go anywhere, no.

Slender Man is a flaming pile of rubbish! This film really needed to be a lot subtler than it is. It’s just a poorly acted, poorly written, with poor effects and an ending so tragically awful. I fail to call it an ending, the film just kind of stops. Not to mention there is a couple of scenes from the trailers which have been cut from the final product. The plot points that don’t go anywhere, leads me to think this film has been gutted in the editing studio. It’s not as if this is a long film so they have had to cut the time, the film is only an hour and a half long. But man is it a BORING movie! Genuinely the most boring movie of 2018 so far.

Ok… you know what? After that film I want something that looks at least a bit better, I don’t have much confidence in The Happytime Murders, so next week I am going to review Searching. With all that being said thanks for reading this review, hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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