• Slender Man (2018) - Better than its reputation - 6/10 (12/09/18)

    Slender Man (2018)

    A horror movie only needs to accomplish to very simple but very important things. It needs to be atmospheric and it needs to be scary.

    Slender Man is definitely an atmospheric movie. Right from the start, you see the abandoned shopping mall of a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere. Most scenes take place at night, often in dark buildings or in a forest. The progressive confusion, nervosity and terror of the four main characters is also fascinating to watch.

    However, the movie isn't scary despite the appropriate atmosphere. The supernatural entity that gave the movie its title is quite unoriginal. It doesn't speak, it doesn't have any unforeseeable powers and it doesn't even have a face which is quite revealing. The weak attempts at jump scares are clumsy and predictable. I would go as far to say that Slender Man is one of the least scariest horror movies I have ever watched and I have come across hundreds.

    This would make for an average and quite lukewarm film but there are three minor elements that justify my slightly more positive evaluation. First of all, it's interesting that the movie focuses on four teenage girls instead of just boys or a mixed group which is a little bit different from the usual stereotypes. It's also great that the casting directors and writers didn't try to focus on artificial diversity, including one lesbian girl, one transgender girl, one physically disabled girl and one schizophrenic girl with borderline personality disorder. The four main characters might not have perfect chemistry but their friendship is at least believable. They are refreshingly normal.

    Secondly, the young actresses did a solid job. They aren't extraordinary by any means but they made the best they could with an at times shallow and unimaginative script. I really liked Joey King's acting as slightly sinister, nervous and hyperactive teenager who is a little bit different than the other three characters. I happened to find her just memorable and unique enough to not be exaggerated or even annoying. 

    Thirdly and lastly, I liked how the movie ended. In the beginning, I found the resolution somewhat confusing and short but the more I think about it, the more I find it quite original and even courageous to end a film the way it did here. It's definitely not your standard Hollywood happy ending and this fact alone needs some praise.

    In the end, Slender Man is neither an ordinary nor an extraordinary horror film. It has just enough positive elements to be slightly above average or even good. I have seen far worse horror movies recently like Devil's Due or The Quiet Ones. The negative reviews of this film are often exaggerated. Horror movie fans should at least appreciate this film. Teenagers might even like it a little bit more because they could identify with the main characters.

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