A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Slender Man is a horror movie based on a popular internet meme (a "creepypasta") about a faceless monster that steals kids. It has unsettling, nightmare-like imagery that flashes by quickly, as well as jump scares, teens in peril, and teen girls being grabbed and choked. Black claws also burst out of a teen girl's swollen belly, and there are suicide attempts. A fast-paced, strobe-like sequence could be difficult for those with photosensitivity and has prompted some theaters to post warnings. Language includes uses of "s--t" and "damn" and one use of "f--k." Teens kiss briefly on a couch but are interrupted. There's a suggestion of teens watching porn and a mention of teen pregnancy. A secondary adult character is shown to be an alcoholic, falling asleep on the couch with an empty bottle nearby. While die-hard teen horror hounds may be interested, ultimately the movie is dull and filled with creaky scary-movie devices/clichés. Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, and Annalise Basso star.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SLENDER MAN, four best friends -- Wren (Joey King), Hallie (Julia Goldani Telles), Chloe (Jaz Sinclair), and Katie (Annalise Basso) -- spend another Friday night together and are intrigued to learn that some boys they know are going to try to summon the Slender Man. The girls get on the internet and decide to do the same. They watch a video and are unsettled by some of the images they see, as well as the chiming of distant bells. Soon, the girls suffer from nightmares, and Katie simply disappears during a class field trip. The other girls try to placate the monster to get their friend back, but things just seem to get worse, including dark visions, possible insanity, and suicide attempts. When Hallie's younger sister also becomes afflicted, Hallie decides to do something drastic.
Is it any good?
Based on a viral 2009 internet meme that gave plenty of people the creeps, this lazy horror movie is filled with stale, worn-out scares, crude effects and jump scares, and poor storytelling. Despite the opportunity to feature a genuinely scary central figure, Slender Man feels like a hundred other horror movies -- basically anything that involves people's curiosity getting them into trouble. Its other problem is that it was deliberately edited to earn a PG-13 rating, so it doesn't really have any scares beyond the usual loud percussion noise whenever the monster appears.
Director Sylvain White films everything in dimly lit rooms, especially a library and a hospital; maybe he was trying to use the smeary grayness to cover up the movie's shoddy digital effects. The rhythms are off, too, with every attempt at a spooky reveal occurring either too fast or too slow. The one thing Slender Man does right is that it actually conveys a sense of loss among the characters. They actually care about one another, and they're deeply affected by the disappearances and other troubles. King, specifically, is a spunky, feisty standout; she's the only one who seems to feel real fear, and she gives a little extra in her performance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Slender Man's violence. How does it compare to other horror movies you've seen? Does the fact that much of the violence is aimed at teen girls affect the impact of the violence?
How is sex portrayed? What messages are conveyed? Are the characters mature enough to make the right decisions?
How does the actual Slender Man meme compare to the movie? What was scary about the original idea? Is the movie scary in the same way?
What's the appeal of horror movies? Why do people like to be scared?
- In theaters: August 10, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: October 30, 2018
- Cast: Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair
- Director: Sylvain White
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: disturbing images, sequences of terror, thematic elements and language including some crude sexual references
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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