Slender Man by Sylvain White and David Birk.
2.1SLENDERMAN?
CINEMATOGRAPHY
PLOT & WRITING
ACTING & DEVELOPMENT
HORROR

When you see a good or even decent film it has three vital characteristics: believable (and to an extent good) acting, a plot you can follow and digest, and character development. In a good film, there is always character development. Those are the big three, usually with leeway, however, Slender Man did not have those three vital characteristics.

It had subpar acting, a subpar plot you couldn’t follow, and it was hard to keep up with the details of the film when none of them actually made sense. Everyone knows the story of Slender Man and if you don’t, don’t Google it. Slender Man is a long myth, legend, and Internet meme. If you want to, you can check out the wiki.

Throughout watching Slender Man, the actual Slenderman (which is the correct form of its name but both I suppose are used interchangeably) makes about four cameos where you actually see him. The rest is jump scares that aren’t really it, and just other people. Basically to scare you, but instead, they just kind of overused the jumpscare trope.

Slender Man
Wren (Joey King) in Slender Man, Credit: Sony 2018.

The Players of Slender Man

Joey King, who plays Wren, is, unfortunately, playing in yet another subpar film in 2018. The other being The Kissing Booth. King is one of the main characters of Slender Man along with Javier Botet (Slenderman), Annalise Basso (Zoey, Piper), Jaz Sinclair (Chloe), Julia Goldani Telles (Hallie), Taylor Richardson (Lizzie) and Alex Fitzalan (Tom).

There’s also a ton of parents who show up collectively for half hour of the film, maybe, if that. They aren’t as important as the main cast here, anyway. The film was directed by Sylvain White and written by David Birk. Production companies include a lot of them: Screen Gems, Mythology Entertainment, Madhouse Entertainment, and It Is No Dream Entertainment. Distributed by Sony.

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The Acting Could Have Been Better…

Each actor in Slender Man, unitedly, do quite a… subpar job. None of them truly stand out. The characters names are easily forgotten (minus, Lizzie’s). The parents are nowhere to be found for the majority of the film. Where are all the parents? We meet Hallie’s parents and get a small glimpse of Katie’s parent, singular for a reason. But, no one else’s parents ever show up? They are just letting their kids go crazy and no one cares?

We do get a plot around Katie’s father. It is implied that he is a deadbeat dad who is an alcoholic, but we never do much with that. We just kind of leave that where it lays. Katie talks about wanting to run away at the start and how she’s cold-hearted. But, we don’t get much character development in the father-daughter relationship.

Slender Man
Slender Man, Credit: Sony 2018.

We just are aware that he’s an alcoholic and invites teens in and breaks into their home. At the start of Slender Man, Katie comes off weird… she is primarily coming off as a serial killer. Or a character that is into dark — like — Ouija Boards and cult-like stuff. Again, we never go into that any more than just that five-minute introduction.

Chloe, who has the sorriest character arc in the film, is utilized in a very problematic way. At the beginning of the film, we are aware that she is pregnant. At least I think she is. So, she is not only pregnant, but her boyfriend or the baby’s father is nowhere to be found throughout the entire film? She is also the character who does exactly what everyone tells her not to do. I mean, you know how that turns out, right?

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The Best Actor Was Slenderman

Nonetheless, I will say, Slenderman was possibly the best actor in the entire film. Although he was a no-face character who didn’t talk once, he was the best character in the film. Granted, there were inconsistencies; such as Slenderman knowing how to use Facetime or the Andriod equivalent of it. Although Slenderman is supposed to be a figment of the mind, in a way.

A Forced Love Interest…?

They do drop a love interest in, however, with Hallie. This romance arc is very forced between Tom and Hallie. We get little to remarkably no development; we do get hints they like each other. But, the issue is — there’s no character development. We don’t know what events conspired before the film began to indicate they wanted to be in a relationship.

The collective ten minutes we see them look at one another and make-out is forced and random, in a sense. In comparison to IT, which was another horror film from 2017, there was a ton more character development. And, deservingly so, it was more than two-hours long. We felt bad when characters would die like Georgie because the five minutes he was there, you got how important he was to Bill.

Slender Man
Slender Man, Credit: Sony 2018.

The love interest in that film, as well, was not forced. We got development over the course of the film that led us to root for Bill or Ben. But, back to Slender Man. There was a love interest that was truly forced and just not developed as well as it could have been.

The Dream Sequences Were Bothersome…

Throughout this film, there are dream sequences. I would say give or take about eight of them. All — give or take — eight were vexatious to watch. You would think you were watching a real Slenderman attack and turns out it was a dream. Most of the time the jump scares were dreams and fake.

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This happened so much to the point where you give up on the film. You don’t even look for anything scary if it’s going to be proven fake every time. Which is generally what happened nearly every time.

Come On, Is It Really That Bad?

Yes and no. There was a good plot underneath the filler. However, whenever we got a chance to see it, the filler was distracted by something else or we drastically switched POVs and moved on to another plot point. It felt like it was written backward, and nothing aligned with the next scene.

Slender Man
Slender Man, Credit: Sony 2018.

The transitions faltered as well, you don’t get that smooth transition like you do in a film such as The Conjuring. Everything was scatterbrained, and after watching Slender Man, you, yourself, felt scatterbrained, too. I will sum it up in one sentence used by the personage I went to see the film with:

“That movie was good in the worst way.”

C

Would I go see it again? No. Would I have ever paid money to see it? No. Should you watch it for free if you can? Yes. It’s not worth the money to see it, not worth the time to see it.

But, in the future, if you catch it on HBO or something for free, watch it. It’s an okay film for background noise. Also, one final question: why was the movie so dark I could barely see anything happening?

The Kissing Booth Misses Its Mark But Tries Its Best (Review)

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