SLENDER MAN, the latest film from Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard), is a disastrous take on the highly popular Slenderman creepypasta created by Victor Surge. The film stars Joey King (Wish Upon, The Conjuring), Julia Goldani Telles (“The Affair”), Jaz Sinclair (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), Annalise Basso (Ouija: Origin of Evil), and Javier Botet (It).
Wren (Joey King), Hallie (Julia Goldani Telles), Chloe (Jaz Sinclair), and Katie (Annalise Basso) are the closest of friends living in a small town in Massachusetts and doing all the things that high school teenagers do: talk about their crushes, have sleepovers, and summon evil internet beings. Becoming fascinated by the internet sensation of the Slender Man mythos, these four friends decide to try to summon it for fun as proof that Slender Man is nothing but an urban legend. However, when one of them goes missing shortly afterwards, they come to realize that Slender Man is anything but pretend.
Before diving into this review, I felt it best to explain what a creepypasta is for those who may not be familiar with the term. As per the Wikipedia page, “Creepypastas are horror-related legends or images that have been copied and pasted around the internet. Internet entries are often brief, user-generated, paranormal stories intended to scare readers. They include gruesome tales of murder, suicide, and otherwordly occurrences.” As someone who loves reading fictional tales of horror, it should come as no surprise that I would be a massive fan of creepypastas. The most notorious creepypasta is that of Slender Man, which came to the forefront of mainstream media in 2014 after two girls stabbed their 12-year-old friend in the name of Slender Man. In regards to this review I won’t be diving too deeply into that horrific crime, but if you want to read more on it, I suggest clicking HERE.
Upon seeing the trailers for SLENDER MAN, I’ll admit that I had high hopes. The visuals were arresting and made me anxious to finally see this beloved internet lore come to life. However, the closer the release date came, the less we heard about the film until it was finally revealed that the parents of the 12-year-old victim (who survived by the way) had spoken out against the film’s release. I’m not sure if this caused any changes to be made to the movie, but either way, SLENDER MAN did not even come close to reaching my expectations. Instead of getting a film which dove into the legend and mythology surrounding the entity, we instead get a convoluted mess of a story that ends up being easily forgettable.
I personally feel as though the writers should have focused more on the origin of Slender Man and the mythology behind his creations instead of relying on cheap jumpscares. What I found odd was the juxtaposition between this feeling of a teen slasher combined with abstract visuals that made the film feel like it was trying to be high-brow but not understanding how to achieve that. I will say I did really like the graphics and, in a way, it reminded me of the 2002 remake of The Ring. Also, in terms of the characters, I didn’t feel a connection with any of them. To be honest, I didn’t really care if any of the characters survived or not because they weren’t very likable. That’s really saying something because a lot of these young actresses I really enjoy – Joey King has quickly risen the ranks within the horror genre, Annalise Basso has proven her talent in both Ouija: Origin of Evil and Oculus, and Jaz Sinclair was superb in the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” It’s truly unfortunate that none of them were able to shine-through, though a part of me thinks that has to do with the writing and directing, less to do with their talent.
Overall, I don’t have much more to say about SLENDER MAN. It was a total disappointment and a missed opportunity in becoming a truly scary and chilling staple within the horror genre. As I mentioned, the visuals were at least something that I found to be positive but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to carry the entire movie. I don’t know what the future of Slender Man will be in terms of cinematic films, but I hope to God if we get another movie, it’s miles above better than this one.
SLENDER MAN is now available to own on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.