Nothing There - Slender Man

Nothing There - Slender Man

At what age did you realize there was no monster living under your bed? 6? 10? Still haven't? Well, whenever that happens, it is like a light switch being flipped on--there is nothing there. Somewhere in the creative process of putting these images and sounds together, someone should have come to the same realization. There is nothing here. No matter how much you think about it, no matter how much you want there to be something, there is no story here. Instead of carrying on like it is coming together, it would seem like at least one of the adults involved would say to scrap this and conceive of something better. There is no story here. There are no scares here. There is nothing but the slender outline of a wasted 93 minutes. 

 Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Slender Man is a horror character with internet roots. Created out of a meme, he is a frightening but inviting presence that lures children into the woods, at which point they are never heard from again. This particular take on the legend takes place in small town Massachusetts, as a group of four friends become curious about the Slender Man. They watch an internet video that leads them in a chant that is meant to summon the Slender Man. 

When one of the friends disappears, the other three attempt to search for clues that will get her back. They seek to make contact with the Slender Man, which causes concern for parents in the community who think they are becoming involved in occult activities. As a result of their search, the girls come closer and closer to danger and must work to get their friend back before the Slender Man takes them too. 

 Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Honestly, the above summary is very rough, but a better understanding of the story is not what you need. What you need is to hear me clearly when I say--DON'T SEE THIS. Today's horror scene is filled with any number of better options regardless of what flavor of the genre you are looking for. Whether you want high end art horror, teen scream slasher, or supernatural jump scares,  there are any number of things you should get to before this (read: every other horror movie ever). This is a bland take on a bland meme that only really has teeth when explored with true creativity. This PG-13 variant is so devoid of anything approaching fright that you would be worlds better off just firing up Netflix and watching whatever their algorithm suggests. 

There are reports that Sony removed certain more violent elements to avoid backlash, but the result is unfathomably bland and features glaring plot holes. And I'm not talking about the kind where one must suspend disbelief. I mean ones where character say things that later turn out to not be the case. It could stress you if you let it, but hopefully you've heard enough to never go through this. 

 Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Part of what is frustrating about horror these days is that the audience is so loyal that studios know they can put out almost whatever. There is little risk that these cheaply produced movies won't turn a profit--even if they fail to actually deliver the scares. In this case, Sony is almost thumbing its nose at audiences by delivering no discernible horror in service of a barely-there plot. I could go on about the shoddy technical aspects, the lackluster performances, the inane script and all the markers of a student film project, but it suffices to say this is just incredibly weak. There is truly nothing to recommend here and there is but a slender chance anyone walks away feeling like they made a good choice seeing this.  

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