The quality of supernatural horror movies runs the gamut of a wide spectrum from the sublime and unexpectedly decent, to the ridiculous and disappointingly abysmal. And one of the decidedly latter, 2018’s Slender Man, has for some reason found a place in Netflix’s global Top 20 most-watched list this week.
The story sees a quartet of bored teenage girls click a link to summon the titular entity, and when one of them subsequently goes missing, they delve into the creature’s origins in an attempt to make contact with it to facilitate her return before they’re driven to the brink of madness by the otherworldly sights they uncover.
The concept of Slender Man originated as a creepypasta, artificial legends perpetuated online as they’re though genuine urban myths, and in this case was enhanced by multiple doctored photos and snatches of supposedly personal experiences building a vaguely defined mythos. However, like the Lovecraftian inspiration of the original concept, this translates poorly to the screen and demonstrates that incomprehensible cosmic terrors are far more effective when conjured by your imagination.
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Although the film also painfully attempts to infuse some narrative and visual tropes reminiscent of J-horror, Ring in particular, its events are overall so generically indistinct that I had to watch the movie while writing this because I genuinely couldn’t remember a single thing about it.
Normally when I write stories like this, I try to put a spin on why the pic in question is so obscure, be it a lack of proper marketing, having the misfortune to open against a far more anticipated film, or some major world event driving people away from cinemas, and talk about how it deserves more recognition. However, this time there’s really no two ways about it. Slender Man is a forgotten film quite simply because it’s just really, really bad.