Urban legends often make the best tales, the combining of reality with fiction in a way that heightens both. As these tales fuel the phenomena that inspire the legends, it becomes a never-ending cycle of storytelling. There haven’t been many recent stories that have caught the public’s imagination but in 2018, after a certain horror story was attributed to some real-life killings, Hollywood was quick on the take to adapt the piece of internet folklore to the silver screen, a monster for the modern age, the tale of Slender Man.
When a group of young teens get bored one night, they decide the best course of action is to attempt a ritual to summon the mysterious Slender Man, the group quickly laugh it off, apart from young troubled Katie who promptly disappears early. The girls set out to find what happened to her and end up in a twisted world of chatrooms and message boards of similar people who have encountered the monster and have met a ghastly end. Fearing her friends are next, Wren must make the ultimate sacrifice to protect her community, her friends, and her family.
A horror film is only as good as its atmosphere, and the atmosphere is a jump-scare laden fright-fest for all the audience. With classic elements like the music being creepy, dark forests, and old libraries for our suggestible brains to fill in the gaps, with terrifying results. The film benefits from the legend of Slender Man being a product of the modern age, with digital effects being able to accurately recreate the tonnes of mock-ups and stories available online. The few times you see Slender Man in person, he looks unsettling, almost like he shouldn’t exist in outside a Fibre optic cable and P.C. monitor.
The personal drama and torment that has been affecting the young girls is fully looked at to, As the film doesn’t shy away from the pressing real-life issues today that would drive a person to seek an audience with the mysterious Slender Man and aptly explores the worlds of teenage relationships, dating, social media et al. It’s the acting that also brings these issues to life, I recognise a couple of the stars from TV projects, but this is the first time I’ve seen them star on the big screen. The film particularly utilises the talents of Joey King who makes a welcome return from the projects like Fargo. She’s excellent here, as are the rest of the casts, and I hope this offers them more opportunities in the future.
Slender Man takes its recently established roots and chains together a compelling introduction to the man behind the murders. Don’t let the modern trappings fool you, this is a classic horror story, with all the beats you know and love freshly available. Atmospheric and frightful, thanks to this film, Slender Man will be haunting our nightmares for years to come.
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