Slender Man: A Review

Slender Man is, at this point, part of the mythos of the internet. Though his prevalence has decreased in recent years, barring the odd video game or real world crimes being committed under his name, anyone who has spent at least some time on the internet probably knows who or what he is at this point. While the lore runs deep—with countless threads on any number of forums expanding or detailing his background, abilities, and impact on the world—the thread that ties it all together stays the same.

  • Slender Man is a lanky, pale white figure in a black suit, white shirt, and black tie
  • He has a face and head that are devoid of any features and arms that are disproportionately long
  • He has the ability to teleport, often using this ability to both pursue and torment his victims
  • He can grow multiple extra appendages from his torso, specifically his back
  • He drives his victims/witnesses insane or kills them, with the bodies of the latter group never being found

As mentioned before, there is much more to Slender Man than these simple bullets, but these are the main details that really matter for the movie, though it's easy to research more about him. The movie uses another defining characteristic of Slender Man only focusing on children, while also adding a Ring-esque quality, requiring his victims to watch a video to summon him. While there are a few smaller abilities displayed in the movie, there are none that add to the story or experience in any impactful way. Slender Man starts off like most average horror movies, like any movie really: quickly introduce the cast and give details of their relation to one another, and establish the main conflict of the film.

That's about as far as the potential for this film to just be average stops, as the movie quickly goes downhill within a matter of minutes. 

The acting was mediocre, with some of the female leads doing a fairly decent job, considering the script they were given to work with. As with anything released now, the cinematography was one of the best parts of the film, which isn't saying much in this case. The titular Slender Man looked okay most of the time. With that said,  the positive qualities of the movie have now been expended.

There are too many places to start when talking about where this film went wrong. The simplest, and most glaringly obvious critique would be in the use of lighting, as the contrast between a mostly dark film and sudden and erratic bursts of blinding white light were almost painful. This sudden shift once or twice in a movie is something most movie-goers seem to be fine with, as these moment usually note a shift from a previously dark, though important, scene to something lighter indicating some sort of progression, but in Slender Man the violent shifts between dark and light was jarring and made it impossible to focus on the scene and information thanks to poor direction.

Next is the fault with the characters. The majority of introduced faces were completely one dimensional while the ones who weren't barely managed to develop past stereotypes or tropes. These latter characters all fell to the same tired horror trope of "I have evidence right before me that things are weird, but I'm going to refuse to act like a normal person would." Certain motives weren't always fully explained and the connectivity and timeline of certain events could have been detailed much better. Slender Man himself felt tired at a certain point, not because he wasn't terrifying—although, at this point, if you know him it's difficult to be afraid of him—but because his powers were never explained and he was endlessly pulling new abilities out that made it less a matter of "how is this unstoppable force going to get them" and more "well he's going to get them, do we even care how?" 

There's a world of difference between not knowing what the monster will do next and knowing the monster can do whatever it wants.

The story itself is old hat at this point. Teens find out about creature/curse and do what they think will summon/cause it, not believing it will actually work. All are surprised when it does work. Teens start dying. Teens start acting stupid. Teens keep dying. Teens finally decide to try acting smar-oh they're all dead now.

All in all, it's a movie that didn't deserve the little time it took to write this, and it most definitely doesn't deserve your money. My only hope with writing this is that at least some people will be dissuaded from seeing what is already publicly known as a bad horror movie. I heard it was bad, but I sometimes enjoy a bad horror movie and was curious. Slender Man is not that type of bad.

Don't be me, be smart. Honestly, if you're looking for a good Slender Man fix, check out Look-See, an ongoing short horror series produced by a group that constantly puts out great horror shorts. It's a much better use of your time and you'll be happy with yourself at the end of it.

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