Starring: Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair
Director: Sylvain White
Running Time: 93 mins
Slender Man is an American film about a group of friends who, while attempting to uncover the mystery of legendary Slender Man killer, is sent into panic when one of them goes missing.
This film is everything that I hate about the horror genre. While we’ve seen some real horror gems like Get Out and A Quiet Place in recent years, Slender Man is the complete antithesis of fresh, intelligent and exciting horror filmmaking, instead choosing to pummel you with an hour and a half of completely non-sensical fantasy gibberish, pathetic attempts at creating tension, and a total failure to capitalise on what has been a very popular urban legend, instead turning the myth into the exact same formula of every single stupid supernatural horror movie you’ve ever seen.
Every second watching this movie felt like more and more of a waste of my time. I’ll admit that supernatural horror isn’t my favourite genre by a long shot, but even I have seen what can be brought to the genre and formula with a little bit of talent, intelligence and originality.
However, watching three girls meander around an apparently creepy town for an hour and a half occasionally bumping into this supposedly legendary killer isn’t good cinema, and there was never a moment in this film where I felt any sense of threat, tension or dramatic intrigue.
Part of that issue comes from the fact that it feels like a rather sanitised, watered-down rip-off of The Blair Witch Project. With clear inspiration taken from the cult classic, the film initially sparks a tiny bit of interest, but its higher production quality works against any hope of that vibe coming off effectively, meaning the film simply looks like a dull, gloomy walk around the woods, with director Sylvain White failing again and again to bring even the slightest bit of suspense to the table.
The pacing is completely erratic, the cinematography is tedious, the performances aren’t any more layered than putting on a moderately frightened face here and there, and as such, there’s no sense of strong dramatic cohesion about anything in the film, giving you absolutely no reason to care about anything going on, further worsened by the various shrill and braindead main ‘scare sequences’ that attempt to exhilarate, but end up disappointing even more.
All in all, nothing about Slender Man impressed me. I remember when the legend of the Slender Man was doing the rounds on the internet a few years ago, and even I found myself a little creeped out by it. This film, however, turns a potentially unnerving horror thriller into another generic and pointless cinematic exercise, underutilising the Slender Man by portraying him as little more than a random demon or spirit, without any of the moody atmosphere surrounding hiim to further unsettle you as a viewer.
I hope it’s clear, then, that Slender Man is a pointless film, and a total waste of your time. I guess that the movie does do its job by making you want to cover your eyes and run away – not out of any sense of fear, though – just through total and utter boredom, and that’s why I’m giving it a 1.7 overall.