Main cast: Joey King (Wren), Julia Goldani Telles (Hallie Knudsen), Jaz Sinclair (Chloe). Annalise Basso (Katie Jensen), Alex Fitzalan (Tom), Taylor Richardson (Lizzie Knudsen), Javier Botet (Slender Man)
Director: Sylvain White
Sigh. The Slender Man, which is a 21st-century invention born from the Something Awful forums, is a pretty good creepy creation – like its namesake, it is a thin creature with an ill-defined face which shows up to kidnap children for some nefarious purposes. What it actually is depends on whom is telling the story, as there is no fixed lore, but Slender Man chooses to go the low budget Blumhouse route and turn it into some manifestation of whiny female teen angst.
Four high school friends Wren, Hallie, Chloe, and Katie are typical of their kind, wishing for a way out of their boring Minnesota town and gossiping about boys, until one day they decide to summon the Slender Man via a ritual they found online. Sigh, surely these girls have seen those Candyman movies? Don’t call scary things into the house! This thing will either drive the people who summoned it crazy, kill them, or kidnap them. That’s what likely happens to Katie – she vanishes without a trace a week after the summoning, and now the three remaining young ladies have to figure out how to get Katie back before the Slender Man comes to get them too.
Well, the Slender Man can take them for all I care. This movie isn’t bad as much as it is just boring. For way too long it’s all talking and some silly jump scare moments, without anything else to generate the scares or suspense. The silly young ladies have no discernible personality, and they don’t even behave like the close friends they supposedly are, but rather, more like four people forced to pose as friends for a movie to take place. They have nothing that can get me to root for or against them. In fact, their brush with Slender Man occurs just because they happen to be bored and have nothing else to do. With a lack of compelling reason to care, I feel like I’m watching this movie because I too have nothing else to do.
Another misstep is to reveal the Slender Man to the audience way too often, to the point of killing all sense of terror and trepidation because everyone watching this movie now knows that the villain is a comically fake CGI. It’s the same mistake made by the 2011 version of The Thing – when it comes to horror, the timing of the unmasking of the monster is crucial, and sometimes it’s far more terrifying if the audience only have a vague inkling of what it looks like until a penultimate moment. Here, it’s just jump scare, scenes of dumb girls doing things that are hard to make out as the scene is so poorly lit, and ooh, here’s the CGI clown that’s supposed to be Slender Man. Yawn, next.
Slender Man is so dull and full of missteps that even the denouement leaves me unmoved. All I can think of is that well, thank goodness that this one is over and done with. Seriously, of all the stories they could have done with Slender Man, they come up with… this? Go watch the first Candyman movie for a much better “I summoned the monster… oopsie!” movie – this one is a full blown snore all the way to the end.