“Slender Man”: A Disappointing Horror Cliche

Joey King in "Slender Man"

Earlier this decade, Slender Man was a sensation on the internet. Making a movie about him might have been a great idea back then but it seems David Birke and Sylvain White left it a little late to engage their target audience.

Birke and White’s execution of Slender Man resulted in a samey horror, weakly placed among their portfolio. The story follows three friends into the woods after one of their friends mysteriously goes missing. Armed with their flashlights, they bump into Slender Man who looks like a Teletubby in comparison to some of the demons we’ve recently encountered on the Insidious and The Conjuring franchises.

There are some good jump scares but the movie fails to retain a sense of suspense or real horror. It’s strange because the potential is there for Slender Man to be terrifying with his featureless face and slender, ghoulish limbs but for some reason, he completely fails to frighten or mystify.

One of the problems with the feature is the overuse of horror cliches. Everything from internet research sequences with Latin text to mediocre nightmare montages and church bells is utilized. The whole concept of summoning a folk legend and then disappearing into the woods has been done too many times to be done well without bringing something new or imaginative to the table.

Joey King gives a good performance but the character just wasn’t well written enough for her to truly shine. The same goes for Joey King who also deserves better.

Those who enjoyed the movie found it creepy and probably have not seen enough horror movies in their time to recognize a cliche when they see one. The rest of the 7% who rated the movie on Rotten Tomatoes were probably diehard fans of Slender Man back in his internet famous days or maybe the 93% of us who were falling asleep at the cinema are missing something.

Perhaps the reason the movie is so disappointing is that the potential was definitely there. Instead, we got a poor horror cliche which didn’t bring about a Slender Man comeback but left him dead in the ground for good.