Screenshot from Sony Pictures Entertainment
Rating: 1/5 Stars
Horror movies and scary campfire stories often take inspiration from real life legends, terror tales passed by down family members and elders; anything that expands the mythology and continues the nightmarish legacy for generations to come. The story behind the “Slender Man” hails from the strangest of all sources for unknown horror: the internet. “Slender man” is a ghost story about a faceless, tall; demonic man in a dark suit who visits young children and takes them away with him into the unknown. It started off as an entry in a photographic online horror contest and has since exploded into a full-blown phenomenon, inspiring cults, rituals, followers and a plethora of photos, videos and stories that continue to circulate across the globe today.
So it should come as no surprise to anyone that a movie was made about the iconic online boogeyman, aptly titled “Slender Man.” A group of girls gather together for a slumber party and fool around with the notion of summoning the mysterious figure known to all of their peers as the legend of Slender Man. After the ritual is performed, they think it failed until one of their friend’s mysterious vanishes. Now one by one all who summoned Slender Man are being visited and tormented by the faceless spectre, and nothing can stop him from collecting those he seeks as the girls desperately struggle to stay alive and find their friend before they all vanish forever.
Being familiar with the legend ever since I saw the amazing documentary “Beware the Slender Man”, I was quite curious to see how Hollywood could bring this digital demon to the silver screen and introduce audiences to a new twisted icon of horror and fear. Unfortunately, all that potential was pissed away on a cheaply produced, half-assed horror flick that feels like it was made for a direct-to-DVD release. While there isn’t much to get wrong with the character, his design or how he operates structure wise, it all falls apart when the script, the acting and everything else suffers beyond repair. Actually no, I take it back; there is much to get wrong with the character of Slender Man, just watch “The Ring” before this film, and you’ll see what I mean.
Much of this film’s plot conception relies on similar lore and visual fear tactics “The Ring” featured and it makes this film look sadder by comparison. The cast is dreadfully awful; they can barely string together a line of the wretched script’s dialogue together without sounding like rejects from a CW drama show. The only one who at least is giving a crap is Joey King, a talented actress who keeps getting sidelined into terrible horror films like this and “Wish Upon.” We never develop any care, concern or quality for these characters; their disposable cannon fodder for Slender Man to snatch away to Never-neverland and you hardly feel a thing for them when he does.
It’s a shame because the movie started out strong in the beginning. The fear was tense and genuinely unnerving, the musical score accompanied the disturbing visuals perfectly, and I felt legit spooked by what I was seeing and hearing. But the deeper you go, the worse everything else gets, and any power the jump scares were packing gets lost real quick, and you’re still stuck with another hour worth of weak sauce you have to choke down and sit through. It could be this adaptation just came too little too late to strike the Slender Man iron when it was hot, or it could be the real-life attempted murder of a young girl by two Slender Man followers soured the legend’s flavour for everyone’s tastes. Either way, nothing excuses this level of rancid disappointment.
I kind of hoped this would be as creepy and chilling as the early trailers promised, or maybe I was just fooled by well-crafted marketing ploys. Overall, “Slender Man” is a blurry lump of dismal static that isn’t worth tuning into. One actress’s hard-earned efforts and a slightly chilling intro are not worth trudging through the rest of the film’s mangled mess of an existence. The story is cliché, the characters suck (both in performance and writing) and any hype around this horror icon expired long before this failure of a flick made it out into theatres. Any run of the mill fan fiction you’d find on Creepypasta.com would be a million times scarier than this turd.