Slender Man – 2018

Director Sylvain White
Screenplay David Birke
Starring  Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Javier Botet

Slenderman is one of those interesting urban legends that even affected the fears of my kids back when it started to catch momentum back in the early 2010’s. Then, once two girls used the myth as an excuse for their attempted murder on a fellow friend in 2014. The story of his origin was in flux by then. Those who wanted to believe, like the kids at my kids’ school, took liberty with the idea. This was more than enough to fill the long dark nights until middle-aged losers who live in Mom’s basement decided to start dressing as clowns on the edge of the woods again.

If the filmmakers behind the film version of the legend had used any amount of the actual story, it may not have been made. Even in its completely rudimentary and fictional form it’s caused quite a stir in Wisconsin. As it is, the film seems to not have been worth the effort.

The story we get is of 4 girls, not 3, who believe their boy counterparts spent the night messing around with the idea of calling on Slender Man. After another boring night trying to not bother the alcoholic dad upstairs, Katie (Basso) and her friends decide it’s time for them to test it out. In another house, the boys had actually chickened out.

What follows would be boring standard stuff, if it were written well enough. Instead we get Katie disappearing a little over a week later. Then the rest of the girls go back and forth between denying the effects of calling on Candy- Slender Man and seeing him come in and out of their lives like that party guest that doesn’t take a hint that the event is over even after you’ve played The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald on repeat.

How this occurs is disjointed, uneven and ultimately lacking in any real amount of fear for the viewer. There is not one moment that makes the viewer even move their head back a little, much less jump.

If there’s a reason for the decent, but altogether uneven acting and writing, it may be the editing. One often gets the feeling that the character motivations change back and forth, sometimes even within one scene. No amount of logic can give the viewer an assist on why they feel the way they do. In a film with essentially four female teenagers for leads, there is precious little chance for the kids to appear beyond panic.

Ultimately, this is a light scare of a film, made for young-ish teenage girls who may have heard that Slender Man is likely fake but they’re still not sure about that Ouija Board.

(*1/2 out of *****)

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