When a group of girls appear to unwittingly conjure up the Slender Man for shits and giggles, they each succumb to the tentacled monster one by one. Some go missing, some are driven mad, but all will wish they’d never seen his face. Well, his faceless face. You get the idea.
The prospect of converting what was essentially an internet meme into a fully fleshed-out feature film was never going to be an easy one. That said, the background surrounding the ‘history’ of Slender Man certainly provided a shed-load of material for the writers to borrow from. In the years following Slender Man’s arrival on the internet, he was effectively the new Freddy Krueger, living in the minds of kids around the world thanks to some ingenious Photoshopped images and well-produced fan videos. He was spoken about in whispers in playgrounds, the cause of many nightmares, and potentially the best ‘bogeyman’ we’ve seen in recent years. Why then does the resulting film feel so utterly disappointing?
There are scares, and there’s some of the history and use of the internet as a way of populating the myth (although it doesn't go full meta), but where Slender Man falls painfully short is in the portrayal of the titular character. Every successful bogeyman needs to have a personality of sorts - even the silent ones (such as Myers and Voorhees) exhibit characteristics that define them and make them creepy. Here, however, Slender Man’s slate is as blank as his face. You can elaborate on his place in history via montage as much as you want, but by the time the credits roll we still have no idea who he is or what he wants. As a result, he’s as bland as movie monsters go and that is not a good thing.
As average as the film is, the Blu-ray is let down further by the Special Features (in as much as there really aren’t any). Here is a subject that has potentially hours worth of back story. Slender Man is a phenomena that has stretched out over almost a decade and (avoiding the obvious real horror surrounding ‘that’ event in the US) there is plenty to say about it. Instead, all we get is a standard featurette - Summoning Slender Man: Meet the Cast - that blathers on about how well the female cast all got on like best buds.
SLENDER MAN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SYLVAIN WHITE / SCREENPLAY: DAVID BIRKE / STARRING: JAVIER BOTET, JOEY KING, JULIA GOLDANI TELLES, JAZ SINCLAIR / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW