Within the last couple of years, there have been plenty of movies diving into the mythos of the internet meme of the Slender Man. Having never seen any of them, myself, I thought it be best to go with the one that saw the widest release theatrically. Of course, I’m referring to Sylvain White’s film from earlier this year, simply titled Slender Man.
A group of curious friends learn of a secret plan the cute boys at school have for the upcoming weekend. Trying to prove they are just as fun as the boys, Chloe, Wren, Hallie, and Katie decide to do it themselves first, watching an ominous online video, which summons the Slender Man. Clearly shaken, but not yet convinced they actually succeeded, the girls go on about their lives. A week later, when Katie disappears, during a school trip, they begin to realize what they’ve truly done. Now, in order to find their friend, the girls must make certain sacrifices to the Slender Man, which only leads to them also falling victim to the abductor of children.
Historically, PG-13 horror films get a bad rap amongst fans, even before they have time to be officially released. Contrary to most, I tend to hold my final judgements until I’ve actually seen a film because I have actually watched quite a few enjoyable ones with a non-R rating. Unfortunately, Slender Man is not one of the enjoyable ones.
The cast consists of young, high school-aged actors, some of which you may recognize from film and TV. All parties involved, including Joey King (The Conjuring), Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), and Annalise Basso (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil), do quite an impressive job with their respective roles. They all fit together quite nicely as on-screen best friends and I actually believed their worry for each other to be sincere. These talented youngsters’ performances aside, there isn’t much else I can say in regards to the good of the film.
The story of a shadowy figure, out in the woods, who lures and abducts children is pretty terrifying on paper. The potential for a great, suspenseful, creepy film is quite clearly there. It just so turns out that Sylvain White and writer David Birke aren’t the ones to bring that type of movie to us. Slender Man is full of CGI effects that, while the film itself seems to have a pretty high budget and production value, does not look very good. There are very few up-close shots of the Slender Man himself, which I am more than fine with, but once we do see him on display more prominently, any level of fear we might have experienced is quickly tossed aside because of the poor CGI effects engulfing the screen. Additionally, the end of the film is quite anti-climactic and really doesn’t offer any kind of closure whatsoever. If this means the studio is planning a sequel of some kind, I sure hope it turns out very differently from this one.
While I did not personally enjoy Slender Man, I still think there is an audience for this film. I don’t usually take film ratings literally, but I do believe that younger teens and tweens would be frightened by this film, making them the perfect candidates for a Slender Man viewing party. If, however, you are older than let’s say 18, it’s safe to say you can skip over this one.
Slender Man is out now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital.
I give this one 1.5 missing children out of 5.