Starring Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Javier Botet
Directed by Sylvain White
An Internet legend has made its way to the multiplex from the director of Stomp the Yard and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, and sometimes a big screen jump for a small screen terror is just too much to make no matter how creepy your pasta is. Slender Man is slim alright… slim on chills, slim on creativity, and slim on any and all common sense.
Four high school girls gather together for a weekend sleepover; and amidst the usual fare of teen silliness, they opt to summon a specter, namely Slender Man, rather than have a pillow fight. One by one the iconic kid-stealing baddie brings each character closer to madness and death by moving branches, making video calls (Who is Slender’s cellular provider? Talk about good coverage!), and generally standing around.
None of our young heroes, including Joey King (The Conjuring, Wish Upon), who with Slender Man joins the likes of Olivia Cooke (The Quiet Ones, Ouija) in the “Can Someone Please Stop Putting Me in Lifeless PG-13 Horror Movies” club, has anything to do but listen as wood creaks for 90 minutes and scream when needed. Even the insanely talented Javier Botet (It, Mama, The Conjuring 2) does little else but lurk about and move his arms when needed. Talk about an easy paycheck. Can’t blame him for taking this one, as given his unique physical attributes, he’s perfect to breathe life into this, a character who can potentially be the scariest of the digital age boogeymen.
The only thing I’ll give Slender Man is its failed but clear intention to keep things as spooky and scary as possible. Slender Man’s world is akin to a living, breathing version of the cursed video tape from The Ring; there’s just no substance to it. It’s hard not to be bored as it goes through the motions, but there is a bright spot to keep viewers awake – the hilariously cringe-inducing mid-level CG that apparently managed to escape from the Nineties. It’s like there was a contest between the FX artists to see who could digitally obscure faces the most. There are moments so visually bad in this flick it feels more like sifting through fruits of a budding Photoshop artist’s portfolio than it does watching an actual movie.
If you’re looking for a truly worthy and unsettling Slender Man experience, stick the myriad of stuff available online. Much like the film’s absentee parents, there’s nothing to see here. Except tentacles. Lots and lots of tentacles. Please, sweet baby, Jesus. No more tentacles and tendrils.
I TAP OUT!