After all the controversy behind the Slender Man story and announcement of this film, expectations were high for those followers of the Creepypasta creation by Victor Surge. The tale of Slender Man is a creepy legend about a tall, slender, dark faceless figure that snatches children when summoned.
While the original backstory is creepy and memorable, the film adaptation falls short. It makes you wish Slender Man could have been summoned to snatch a better script for the project. The film had a modest budget of $10 million, and as of this review, has only grossed $22.2 million worldwide. This film has a rating of three out of 10 stars on imdb.com.
Adding to the embarrassing low rating, it only has a 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with a 25 percent audience score.
The film follows a group of high school aged girls that are bored during a sleep over… cliché’? One friend reveals that a group of guys was going to summon Slender Man, which is an urban legend, not a Creepypasta creation, in their universe.
After a series of video clips that are way too reminiscent of the tape from “The Ring,” the girls talk about the experience then call it a night.
Then it is on to a field trip without much purpose, other than to have one of the girls go missing… After that, when all the strangeness begins, there is a scene that attempts to teach the characters, and audience, about Slender Man, but it felt forced, as if it was added as an “Oh yeah!” moment where the writer thought there should be some sort of exposition about the creature. It didn’t come across well…
The rest of the film seems to have a slow build, with a couple attempts at some jump scares, which did not get much of a reaction from the audience in the theater, and there were kids there.
The film did have some positives, though they were few and far in between. The cinematography was nice, and it had a slightly creepy ethereal feel to it. The lighting was done well, and the acting, while not noteworthy, wasn’t terrible. It seems all around, that the production team was solid, and the actors did their best with what they had to work with, which wasn’t much.
I would have to say that one of the most interesting things about the film was the camera used to shoot the project. Many films, even lower budget horror/thrillers use cameras equivalent to the Arri Alexa, or a Red One. These were cameras that helped to pioneer the 4k film movement. But this production team worked on a much smaller scale than the $20k to $100k cameras typically used. This was shot on Sony a7sii’s, which retail for around $2k. You wouldn’t even tell that it was shot on a prosumer camera due to the cinematography and lighting being as good as it was.
I would have to say that as a stand-alone horror film, it was still slow, but not horrible. But as something adapting a creation that had a following, they failed miserably, like Dragonball Evolution bad.
Coming away from this film, I would recommend two things; wait until it is free on Netflix to watch, because it is not worth the purchase, and if you are an independent filmmaker, invest in one or two Sony a7sii’s. They can’t write the script for you, but they can make a bad story a little easier to watch.
Verdict: 2 out of 5 stars
Review By Lee Frazier
“Slender Man” stars Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Alex Fitzalan, Taylor Richardson, and Javier Botet
Written by David Birke, Victor Surge
Directed by Sylvain White
Production Companies: Mythology Entertainment, Madhouse Entertainment
Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing, Screen Gems