What a world we live in. We are now officially producing studio budget films about creepypastas. For the uninitiated, creepypastas are essentially “scary” internet legends that are copied and passed around the young, mostly among younger age ranges. However, they all have two things in common: they cease being frightening on the dawn of your fourteenth year, and they will all make terrible feature films.
Slender Man is one of the weirdest movies ever produced. It has no plot. It has no stakes. It has no pacing. And in virtually every aspect, it is staggeringly incompetent. Slender Man will go from being hopelessly boring in one scene to being bafflingly stupid in the next. Every single shot in the film that is intended to be scary is just atrocious. The director, Sylvain White, clearly had some…ideas for what he thought was frightening imagery, but they are all terrible. We’re talking the most bizarre, out of place, unnecessary, nothing images that are not only the furthest thing from unnerving but are so poorly done, they make the verbally challenged kids who retell the already uninspiring story feel like Edgar Allen Poe. The camerawork is unforgivably bad. In the tenser scenes it comes across as if you gave a camera to a chimpanzee, screamed at it until he was freaked out enough, and then let him loose onset with the actress. But somehow, even worse than the cinematography is the film’s editing. It’s as though they hired one of the twelve-year-olds who produced YouTube videos of the game, gave them the raw footage on iMovie and said go nuts.
One of the most upsetting things about this movie is that it was written by a human being. Because believe me, I mean it when I say, nothing happens. The plot is probably one of the most inconsequential storylines ever put to film. The movie just sort of starts with these four girls looking for something to do and one of them is like, hey, what if we summon Slender Man? Which I guess was somewhat accurate to slumber parties in 2013, but for a bunch of seemingly eighteen-year-old girls, you’d think they’d have something better to do. But then, after literally googling “how to summon Slender Man,” they watch a crudely edited video on a website straight out of 2003, and boom, we’re off to the races. Except not really, because the only thing that transpires in this movie is the girls standing in a room and having something happen to them. There is no escalation, no clear protagonist; characters exit the film with virtually no consequence, and the film ends akin to a fatal car accident: abrupt and horrible to look at.
The acting in the film is pretty rough. Unfortunately, the most talented actress of the four, Annalise Basso of Captain Fantastic and Oculus fame, is gone in the first five minutes, leaving three vastly inferior actresses to take up the slack. For one period of the movie, Joey King is our lead, a former child star who was vaguely entertaining in her younger years, but as of late has captured the attention of the awards circuit for her role in Netflix’s The Kissing Booth. Her performance in this film is not great. It’s very panicky and far from even remotely relatable or skilled in any way. The other two are…well they’re there too. As for Slender Man himself, he is the least frightening horror figure I think I’ve ever seen. He is immensely mundane, has nothing to do, and is a tragically awful effect. The effect work on Slender Man is so bad that he’s barely even in the movie. Most of the film’s theoretical creepy moments come from some intern in a room looking at the footage and running it through Adobe After Effects until he can find something that resembles a scare. Honestly, I would rather watch something like The Kissing Booth or Truth or Dare because at least they are entertaining. Slender Man is just offensively dull and embarrassingly incompetent. You’d be better off just playing the horrible, horrible game.
All images are from Slender Man, a film by Sony Pictures