Search This Blog

Monday, October 1, 2018

Movie Review: Slender Man (2018)

The story of the Slender Man is a very simple one. Once upon a time, there was an art contest on the forums of Something Awful to create something scary. One man photoshopped a tall, faceless man in a stylish suit in the background of a picture with kids playing. From there, the legend of Slender Man—a being who takes those who see him away—was born.

Now, this was around the turn of the decade; well over five years ago. At the height of his popularity, Slender Man was an indomitable figure in the way of internet horror. The video game Slender: The Eight Pages was immensely popular and was everywhere on platforms such as YouTube. So, had Slender Man been released around 2013, it may have felt relevant and perhaps even gotten some leeway from critics.

However, this is Sony Pictures we’re dealing with. They're nothing if not late to the party.

The film's story centers on a group of friends who decide to go onto the internet and summon the Slender Man, because all it takes to summon an eldritch horror is a simple Google search. I can't wait for a theatrical adaptation of The Rake where you ask for a flier to conjure it.

On this website, the girls watch a Ringu-style video that should come with an epilepsy warning. A week later, one of the girls goes missing, and suspicion immediately falls on the Giorgio Armani of faceless horrors: Slender Man.

I'll give the movie credit for keeping it simple, though it quickly becomes apparent that its simplicity is strictly due to the endless cliches that drive its 91 minute runtime. From start to finish, Slender Man hits every note and beat one can possibly imagine for a high school monster movie. It's revealed the girl who went missing—Katie—was into the occult and wanted to be taken. The girls bicker as to whether or not Slender Man is really behind it, there are falling outs, relationship troubles that go nowhere, and an endless amount of jump scares.

Oh so many jump scares.

If I'm to be completely honest: I fully tuned out about twenty minutes into the movie and stopped paying attention until the final twenty-ish minutes. In between that, I looked up whenever someone died. Remarkably, this proved to be completely inconsequential as the film has no middle act.

Between the girls summoning Slender Man and the credits, the movie acts more like a PG-13 version of Friday the 13th rather than, say, an adaptation of Slender Man. This means that instead of slow build up, psychological horror, or even some stupid meme references about the possibility of a Slender Kid putting weird pictures around the woods, we’re treated to this.

Character worries about Slender Man and says she's going crazy

Character talks to friends

Character sees weird stuff

Character dies

Rinse and repeat until the end where we get a climax so exciting, you'd have to forgive me for thinking the second act was beginning.

The whole of Slender Man lives and dies by the PG-13 horror movie cliche handbook. Its actors are subjected to a script so poor, it couldn't even pass for a direct-to-DVD release or even a student film. The delivery of dialogue throughout the movie is so stiff and bland, it gave me flashbacks to when I tried to watch 2015’s Fantastic Four, which as we all know has some of liveliest performances in cinematic history.

In the way of direction, it's largely uninteresting. The film's color pallet is what you'd expect and for a film that's an adaptation of a character that's supposed to get in your head, it does nothing playful with the camera. I'd say the one and only interesting thing done in that way was when the floor stretched outwards. It takes place in a library and the best part is: you can see the shot in a trailer. Bravo, Sony. Your marketing department sure knows how to cut trailers.

For a horror movie, Slender Man is up there with the greats like The Fourth Kind, every Platinum Dunes produced horror remake ever, and every J-Horror remake from the early 2000s not named The Ring. With CGI so poor, I could hear the Sy-Fy channel laughing in the distance, endless jump scares, and an of understanding as to what “psychological horror” is that's on par with a four year olds, I feel it's safe to say that I've never seen a butchering of a character this bad since Rob Zombie was given the go ahead to direct Halloween.

Easily the most annoying thing about the movie is how it outright references that Slender Man is a legend. Perhaps it's just me, but I've never enjoyed it when stories, films, or video games try to be meta in their storytelling. My point is: I feel there's absolutely no need for the film to directly reference the story of Slender Man. Why not just have him be a monster that exists because he exists? Why did we need to devote time to a stupid web video and have so many characters reference the “Slender Man story”? If I'm to be honest, I was half expecting a character to name drop Jeff the Killer or Ben from Ben Drowned.

If you like the story of Slender Man, I suggest watching, or rewatching, Marble Hornets. Don't waste your time with this abomination of an adaptation. It's not worth it. Not even if you want something to laugh at. Not even as background noise.

Just don't watch it.

Final Score: 0/5

A special thanks to my friend James for finding a few grammatical errors in this review for me.


  1. What if I want to watch something that makes me feel better, because there is clearly something worse?