Released: 23rd August
Seen: 17th August (Advanced Screening)
Let’s be honest, no one had high expectations for this one. No one, it’s impossible to go into a screening of Slender Man and expect it to be anything higher than average. I know when I walked in I was expecting a very basic haunting film with a bunch of teenagers being stalked by the entity known as Slender Man. They’d scream, they’d cry, they’d fight, they’d jump scare us and we could all just go home with a few good scares and maybe some interesting imagery… well, we got some imagery. Not sure if we got anything else, but we sure as hell got some imagery.
The film focusses on four friends. Wren (Played by Joey King), Hallie (Played by Julia Goldani), Chloe (Played by Jaz Sinclair) and Katie (Played by Annalise Basso. One evening, while the girls are hanging out in Katie’s basement they decide to look up a video that will show them how to summon the legendary Slender Man (Played by Javier Botet). They watch a video that looks like a discount version of the one in The Ring and instead of being told they’ll die in seven days (Which would’ve made them luckier than the audience), Katie goes missing roughly a week later. Wren is sure this has to do with Slender Man but Chloe and Hallie aren’t so sure on that. At first anyway. Soon they all are being haunted by the titular villain and have to find a way to stop him before he does things to them… maybe not kill them, but he’s sure going to look at them and make them really upset.
I could’ve gone to see BlacKkKlansman, Instead, I chose to see this… I make poor life decisions
This film doesn’t seem to understand the concept of tension… or character… or lighting, editing, framing, focusing, basic plot elements, time, space, this film doesn’t understand anything OK? This film is a mish-mash of pointlessness that feels like it goes forever. It’s 90 minutes long, and I’ve never felt a longer 90 minutes in my life. It’s almost impossible to go through just how many problems there are with this film but I guess we’ll just start with the title character. How does a film with such an already iconic villain fail so hard? This isn’t like with Truth or Dare where the idea was stupid to begin with and, at best, could’ve provided a drunken party movie. Slender Man is an actually creepy concept with an interesting look that’s been terrifying people for years. It shouldn’t be that hard to create a creepy movie about a giant faceless guy in a suit that kidnaps children. Apparently, it is because this bloated mess of a film only uses the imagery of Slender Man in a creepy way twice. I counted. There are two shots where Slender Man standing in the background is actually creepy, the rest of the time he looks like someone made a man out of dough, or a ‘thing’ made out of some of the most awful CGI. The video game design looked more realistic than what we get in this movie.
I could’ve gone and seen The Meg. I chose to sit through 90 minutes of boredom.
The performances of the main cast range somewhere between “Actually trying, albeit with shitty material” and “Turned up because there was catering”. There is no consistency in the characters emotions with literally one exception, but the more of the film you sit through (If you sit through it all, my screening had four walkouts) the more you realise that these actresses were given complete and utter shit to work with and some tried to make the best of the bad situation, while other’s found a can and some string so they could phone it in. The performances were so bland that I genuinely didn’t even remember anyone’s names until that person went missing because that’s how bland some of them were. I understand that, in horror anyway, a lot of characters are basically there to be a body count. That’s fine, but can you make them characters I give a damn about? Because I only gave a damn about exactly one character and she was just putting everything she had into every scene. Again, they were not good scenes, not well written or shot or lit but god damn it did Wren keep me hoping that she’d somehow find a way out of all this.
I could’ve been watching Book Club… I’m not sure if that would’ve been an improvement, but I know it’s probably better acted.
I’ve never seen a horror film that is so sure that it can just shoot in total darkness and work. Spoilers, it can’t. So much of the film is shot at night in a woods and it’s so dark that you end up just being unable to see anything. This is not helpful when we’re trying to set up that Slender Man operates in the shadows, meaning I got no clue when a shadow changed because everything was shadows. If you want me to be scared, I need to be able to see the scary thing in some capacity. Again, there are SOME shots where they put enough light in the frame where something will move and you’ll realise it’s Slender Man and it’s a little creepy, and then we’re basically looking at a black screen for several minutes and it’s boring. It’s very very boring.
I could’ve sat at home, grabbed a heavy book and smacked myself in the face with it numerous times… would’ve been interesting!
It almost feels like there are sequences missing. There are shots in the trailer that I genuinely do not remember from the movie, and I left the cinema maybe an hour ago. It feels as though they had a different edit of this film at some point and then (And this is pure speculation… but it’s probably 100% accurate) they wanted to go for a PG-13 rating in the states and so they cut a bunch of stuff to keep that rating, forgetting that it now makes certain characters seem to behave weirdly and messes with the flow while also removing some potentially effective scenes… but keep the flashing lights that are known to cause seizures and give people headaches, that’s fine.
This ‘movie’ is inept in every way. There are moments when it looked like the camera wasn’t focussed, there were annoying lens flares, there were some of the worst visual effects I’ve seen this year, there were so many flaws that you would need to get a copy of this film (DO NOT BOTHER) and do a shot by shot dissection of everything that went wrong. It’s boring, it’s bland, it didn’t even bother trying to take this story to anywhere near it’s potential. This film reminded me of a film I saw last year… The Bye Bye Man. When I can make that comparison, that should say just about everything.