The world famous internet meme SLENDER MAN gets his horror film of the same name. And unfortunately it wasn’t under a good star from start to finish. We’ll reveal in our review whether you’ll notice this in the finished result.
The Plot Summary
In a small town in Massachusetts, four friends Wren (Joey King), Chloe (Jaz Sinclair), Hallie (Julia Goldani Telles) and Katie (Annalisa Basso) perform an eerie ritual. After watching a strange video, scary things suddenly happen that can only mean one thing: The Boogeyman everyone calls Slender Man, who is said to have kidnapped hundreds of children and young people, is actually real. It’s also slowly making its way into the girls’ heads. Things get even worse when one of them disappears. The three remaining girls desperately try to find a way to appease Slender Man (Javier Botet). But by the time Wren has an idea, it’s far too late and the Slender Man gets his next victim…
Movie explanation of the ending
The film based on the creepypasta phenomenon Slender Man was not under a good star from the start. About the case of two girls who were motivated by the world-famous meme of a faceless, gaunt giant to murder their classmate (recommended: the documentary “Beware the Slenderman” from HBO that goes into more detail on this case) and thereby the parents of the victims and the perpetrators went to the barricades, the history of the film’s creation and release was also plagued with problems. The distributor Sony Pictures is currently trying to obtain a cease and desist declaration against the film studio Phame Factory, which is also planning a project on the horror figure parallel to the start of “Slender Man” and, according to its own statements, is only interested in a cultural asset, not in it served by the Slender Man himself. To what extent Sony can enforce that no one else is allowed to direct a film based on Slender Man is not yet clear. The dispute between the production team and the distributor is completely different, which stems from the fact that the makers were hoping for a wide theatrical release for their potentially highly successful project, but Sony didn’t want to go along with it and at some point even completely lost interest in the project due to the differences. Despite the scaled-down PR measures, the scandal surrounding the release itself and the scathing reviews from critics, “Slender Man” still opened in the USA on the planned date and made back its budget there in a respectable manner in the opening week. It remains to be seen how big the success will be once word gets out about how bad the film really is.
Wren (Joey King) tracks down Slender Man in a library.
Working on a real legend for a horror film is not a death sentence. In the case of “Slender Man” it is with this one “Legend” However, that’s a thing. In reality, it has always been known that the large, suit-wearing horror figure was the invention of a man who wanted to use it to win a Photoshop contest. One could therefore also say: the myth has long since been demystified. That’s why the finished film ultimately feels like it was directed by Sylvain White (“I will always know what you did last summer”) didn’t know at all what to do with the promising premise. The videos of Slender Man sightings floating around the Internet are usually clearly fake, but they rely on the simple way in which Slender Man scares his victims – by standing silently and motionless in the area stands around and can teleport if necessary. In the film it is now a mysterious video (“Ring” sends greetings – visually too!) with which you can bring the character, who is usually passed on through word of mouth and online propaganda, into the real world. But when it comes to the process, screenwriter David Birke explains exactly how this happens (“Elle”) inaccurate. After the girls watch the video, a whole week passes and finally the students slowly begin to feel uneasy and have nightmares. When a classmate later sees exactly the same video without permission, he sits in class a day later visibly scarred by his encounter with Slender Man – and so it goes on. Whatever internal film rules Birke sets up, he breaks them. Just like he makes characters appear and disappear again, just as he sees fit.
By making Slender Man an interchangeable horror figure by adding new abilities and backgrounds, the makers can’t rely on the giant’s scary appearance itself as causing fear and terror. On the contrary: you are only presented with one of the infamous “Slender Man is just standing in the area” panoramas once. Otherwise, the character embodied by Javier Botet, the “Crooked Man” from “Conjuring 2,” is so rarely seen in the film that one almost wants to speak of it as mean. Instead, we primarily see teens constantly pursuing their addiction to computers and smartphones. It’s almost scarier to think about whether tomorrow’s (horror) films will all be like this; in fact, “Slender Man” gives an excellent insight into how boring a youth becomes when they become dependent on their technological devices. Wren and her friends research the popular forums, watch videos of “real” sightings and constantly write messages to each other about how terrible it all is. And that the completely underwhelmed Joey King (“Wish Upon”) her worst horror experience with Slender Man in a library of all places has almost a tragic, symbolic value.
The Slender Man has the girls firmly under his control.
The teens’ path from their first encounter with Slender Man to their more bad than good attempts to finally get rid of him is peppered with all sorts of predictable jump scares. Aside from the same pattern of staging, half of them aren’t even “real” – instead, the shock turns out to just be caused by something harmless like a friend or neighbor; There are at least two acceptably atmospheric scenes. Once an eerie shadow silently appears in the corner of the room, and another time the faceless man in a suit announces himself via video call. But being completely alone in a wide area never really scares you. The dialogues single-handedly ensure this. David Birke attempts to integrate the half-hearted investigation surrounding the Slender Man character into the girls’ ongoing private lives. The fact that this only consists of clichés is not really the problem. Rather, the supposedly dramatic and the supposedly exciting moments never come together, they hinder each other and when Birke doesn’t know what to do, he puts dialogues into the mouths of his actresses that are about, for example, the fact that one of the girls is going to give up again from now on I wanted to concentrate on “the training” – without ever having explained in advance what exactly that meant. Last but not least, we still need to look at the technical aspects. This is given to one by cameraman Luca Del Puppo (“Smashed”) just stalled most of the time. “Slender Man” is often just so dark that you can hardly see anything on the screen. Maybe it’s just better not to see this horror…
Conclusion: It’s almost impossible to completely trash a film with such a promising horror icon. Sylvain White did it.
“Slender Man” can be seen in USA cinemas from August 23rd.