Review: SLENDER MAN (2018)

Worst Horror Movie of 2018.

Last night on THS LIVES! the guys were discussing the worst horror flicks of 2018 and SLENDER MAN was one of the movies they touched upon. I don’t think any of them had seen it, but I have, so I used all my training as an english major to deliver an in-depth critical analysis full of clever insight: “It was a cluster fuck.” They asked to me to elaborate with a review, so here I go…

For those of you who don’t know, Slender man is the creation of Eric Knudsen (aka Victor Surge) and he first appeared in a series of memes/pictures posted to Creepy pasta websites. The original posts depict Slender man as a faceless, inhumanly tall figure wearing a black suit (and sprouting tentacle-like appendages) appearing in the background of old snapshots, most featuring children, and the implication is that shortly after these pictures were taken, something disastrous happened to the people in the foreground. While Knudsen is credited with creating Slender man and he does hold the copyright, the “legend” took on a life of its own on the web with everyone producing their own stories and pictures, adding their own touches to the original mythos. Video games were made, as well as some unauthorized movies (like 2015’s ALWAYS WATCHING). Then, in 2014, two very young girls obsessed with Slender man lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her repeatedly, believing that killing her would allow them to travel to Slender man’s forest and live forever with him as his “proxies”. Fortunately, the girl they attacked managed to crawl for help and survived.

Now back to the movie: first of all, there is no plot. Well, not much of one. A bunch of teenage girls watch a video online and summon the faceless Slender man. A week later, one of them vanishes and the remaining girls again try to summon Slender man in hopes that they can barter with him to get their friend back. One of the girls looks at Slender man and goes insane. Two girls left now, and one convinces the other’s little sister to make contact with Slender man and the younger girl is hospitalized with a case of the screaming meemies. Big sis sacrifices herself to Slender man to save her sister and he swallows her up when he takes the form of a tree. Apparently Slender man is a fucking tree… ok.

I don’t remember a single one of the girls’ names and it doesn’t matter because the characters are all flat, one-dimensional projections of what someone thinks high school girls are really like. Which all of that I could forgive because we all came for the Slender man anyway, but everything about this movie was total garbage.

Do I sound bitter about this? I sure as hell am. I really was looking forward to this movie and I don’t often go to the theaters, unless it’s something I cannot wait to see. There is something so creepy to me about the very idea of Slender man and this movie should have been imaginative, a dark fantasy, explored the legend in detail, but it did none of that. If it was done right, this movie could have been a horror classic. The visuals were atrocious… everything in this movie was way too dark and they did try to stick to the original idea and keep him always in the background, but whenever he came into frame they start distorting the picture and going into frenzied quick-cuts, so you never really get a good look at him: He’s there, jump scare, oh wait, he’s gone. Over and over. And the CGI… holy shit, was it bad, and nothing takes me out of a movie faster that terrible CGI.

Since they don’t delve into any real life sort of backstory, it’s not clear exactly what Slender man is the after or what (if any) his motives are for terrorizing the people that summon him. The stories on the net and the YouTube videos cobbled together by junior high school kids are way better than this studio produced flick that had a 10 million dollar budget.

I honestly don’t know if the Hollywood studios think that audiences (especially kids since this was a PG-13 outing) are too dumb to appreciate good storytelling anymore or what, so they just slap together a 90 minute equivalent of a hybrid Tool – Aphex Twin – Marilyn Manson video and think that’s enough to satiate our appetites for horror. And I get it, I’m old… I was not the target audience for this movie, but my sister and I took her 13-year-old daughter to see this movie and she was not impressed at all. This movie was exploiting an already decade-old internet craze so I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything outside the realm of exploitation. I wish the filmmakers would have looked closer at the creativity of the people online that helped grow the legend of Slender man and made it something unique and taken a page from their book.

But, if I must be fair, I also have to acknowledge that the studio was under a great deal of scrutiny while producing this film because of the attempted murder associated with the Slender man legend, so the filmmakers may have been restricted in their creative choices by the powers that be. Still, there’s no excuse: this was just a bad movie. IMDB gives it a score of 3.2/10, which is still too high in my opinion. I’m not even going to give it a score. Trust me, don’t waste your time with this movie. Go on YouTube instead and watch any of the thousands of Slender man videos you’ll find there.

About Brian White 22 Articles
I am a lifelong horror junkie, musician, and writer. I'm in the process of publishing my first book of poetry as well as writing my first novel. I'm 38 years old and I live in Canton, Ohio.