One of the most poorly constructed films that I have ever seen. Slender Man is easily a front-runner to take out 2018’s Worst Movie prize because to put it quite simply, it’s not even a movie. There is no real story nor any logical train of thoughts on how to present it. It’s completely empty.
The premise follows the urban legend of “Slender Man”, a faceless demonic spirit who haunts children and teenagers unfortunate enough to summon him. Funnily enough, his origins started as a meme created on an online forum which blew up as a worldwide phenomenon back in 2009, even spawning a popular video game of the same name.
Flashforward to the present, Slender Man’s studio creator Sony Pictures have decided to capitalize on this internet icon in an obvious effort to try and rekindle that same popularity for ticket sales. Unfortunately, not only are they nine years too late, they’ve also forgotten how to make an actual movie with interesting characters and an engaging story. Just like the children Slender Man haunts, those two aspects have seemed to vanish altogether.
The film’s characters, who in the story are meant to be high school teenagers, come off sounding anything but high school teenagers. This is because not only is the acting so poor, but the lines of dialogue they’re given is completely detached from what real teenagers, in reality, would be saying. When it gets to a point where one character says, “He’s like a virus, but he doesn’t get into your hardware, he gets into your brain”, I’m bewildered how any of that passes the final edit.
Which goes the same for the rest of the script because there was no real narrative structure. After ten minutes of introducing who Slender Man is, the story is scene by scene of characters coming into strange and weird interactions with the spirit. There’s no overarching theme or adventure; no trials and tribulations; and no real character arcs or even logical planning. Things just happen with such repetitiveness that I don’t understand why anyone could think this would be an entertaining horror film.
What’s more bizarre is that almost half of what was showed in the trailer doesn’t even make it to the actual film. This suggests to me that the gaps and plot holes that I saw in the film, more than likely came from Sony’s executives toying with the final product. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if there were a number of quickly made reshoots that don’t work with the story because this film is screaming that it’s been poorly made.
Scenes that were meant to be scary followed the typical trend of slowly building tension and then hitting with a disturbing payoff that completely fell flat Some of these moments came off as unintentionally hilarious and the whole theatre was laughing at the stupidity of the characters. It was so bad that it almost became good.
The only positive aspect that I can stand to mention are the few montages of disturbing imagery which were very well edited. Quick cuts and the setup to intercut these scenes together indicated that there was at least some level of effort put into this film but those were the only times this film did something right. Everything else had a complete lack of thought put into it.
I don’t think I can remember a time where I’ve watched a film and when the credits roll, felt completely empty to what just occurred. I wasn’t frustrated like I was with Truth or Dare, nor was I eye rolling like with Happy Death Day, which were two other uninspiring horror films to come out in the past year. I was just confused and in disbelief that something like this was ever made in the first place. Hopefully, Sony Pictures can learn a lesson from this failure, because at the very least, if fewer people go to watch stupid films like this, the less of a chance they’ll be made in the future. Which is why I’m saying skip this because Slender Man is an obvious marketing cash chow that deserves to be forgotten.