By Jack Murphy// Staff Writer
From Sony Pictures, the studio that’s produced great films such as “The Amazing Spiderman 2,” “Jack and Jill,” both of the “Grown Ups” movies, “Sex Tape,” “Pixels,” “The Emoji Movie,” and “The Zookeeper,” comes the new horror film that’s nearly a decade too late and that no one saw except me. Directed by Sylvain White, “Slender Man” is about four teenage girls, who summon the mythical slender man by watching an online video similar to that of the VHS tape from “The Ring” on website.com, which is not a joke and is the actual name of the website in the film. Now, they must figure out a way to escape the slender man before he drives them insane, to then abduct them and take them into the woods. “Slender Man” has been around since 2009, and is one of the most well-known internet horror figures. It gained national attention and notoriety in 2014 when Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both 12 at the time, stabbed their friend, Payton Leutner, 19 times in the woods of Waukesha, Wisconsin, as a way to show their loyalty to slender man. Leutner miraculously survived by crawling out of the woods and was noticed by a bike rider, who then called 911. Aside from the horrific events in Waukesha and the overall low popularity of the slender man character, the movie is atrocious.
I really hate “Slender Man.” There is so much wrong with “Slender Man” it’s mind-boggling. Where do I begin? “Slender Man” was marketed horribly by Sony and only released two trailers, which both feature an abundance of footage that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film. From what I could tell, the studio originally intended to make “Slender Man” an R rated horror film, but then they got cold feet and believed the film wouldn’t do so hot, leading them to change the rating to PG-13 and cut out an abundance of “graphic” footage so they could get more teenagers to come to see the movie. As a result of this, many characters have something traumatic happen to them and just disappear or subplots that have no finality. This makes the story more confusing then it was intended and overall just confuses the audience, or just me because I was the only one in the theater.
The stars of “Slender Man” are all teenage girls, and their dialogue makes them sound nothing like teenage girls, but more like a 40-year-old man trying his best to figure out what teenage girls sound like. It makes sense once you find out who the credited writer of “Slender Man” is. David Birke, a guy who looks to be in his late forties, is credited for writing hit films such as “Elle,” “13 Sins,” “Gacy,” “Dahmer” and “A Kidnapping in the Family.” About two minutes into “Slender Man,” our four teenage leads have what is supposed to be normal conversation, and it just comes across awkward and not realistic. Most of this has to do with the writing, but it also has to do with my next criticism, the acting.
The four main characters of “Slender Man” are Hallie played by Julia Goldani Telles, Wren played by Joey King, Chloe played by Jaz Sinclair, and Katie played by Annalise Basso. Telles does a fine job as being the main lead, I thought she could’ve given an outstanding performance if she had better material to work with, but her performance was nothing spectacular. King’s career features roles in movies such as “The Dark Knight Rises” and
“The Conjuring,” both films I really enjoyed. But otherwise, she’s nothing that monumental or noticeable, besides a couple of crappy horror movies. She’s trying the hardest compared to everyone in the movie, and I will give her props for doing well in the scenes where she has to be scared. However, her delivery of the script is something that drags “Slender Man” down. Sinclair and Basso are horrible, plain and simple. None of the other actors are that noticeable, other than the title character, slender man. It might be the fact that I’m just not scared of him, or because the CGI was very noticeable, but he was not menacing or scary to me whatsoever. I do believe that this has to do with the aforementioned stabbing and overall time gap between when the character was popular because I was entering my final year of middle school when he was gaining popularity across the internet. Like most terrible horror movies, the slender man turned into a walking jump scare, which makes him just a cheap cliché of a character.
Overall, by the time you read this review, “Slender Man” is going to be out of theaters. If you’re actually interested in seeing it, you’ll just have to wait for a digital release, but I would not recommend seeing “Slender Man” at all. The pacing makes “Slender Man” feels so much longer than its one-hour-and-thirty-minute run time, and for the fact it’s not remotely scary, I wouldn’t recommend it.