Slenderman finally got his movie debut
I jumped on board very late for this 2015 horror flick that everyone was so up & down about. It seems that the "hype" for this film was created as a result of two polar opposite opinions: "horrible, do not waste your time" or "scared the living shit out of me." After completely watching the film (might I say with annoying-ass Japanese subtitles) I'm afraid I cannot take either side. I stand right in the middle for this one, and here's why...
The film's plot was probably one of the stupidest, most over-ecclectic stabs at a new idea that really did not impress. A killer STD? I'm sorry but after Teeth (2007) there's no way you're going to try to make having sex any scarier for us hormonal teens. However, the embarrassing plot was almost muted by the amazingly bohemian / tasty style the movie had going. It was like Super 8 (2011) meets the Final Destination series and then hooks up with The Virgin Suicides (1999). The cast was strangely attractive and the cinematography was stellar (even in 720p). The film had moments of great suspense, but it also had moments of completely failed suspense that wound up dragging more than the Iraqi Prologue of The Exorcist (1973).
Let me follow up with some details
There was something about the movie's score that was so satisfying. It brings me back to that Super 8 idea because it had such a syfy feel to it. It was a total complementation to the cinematography. The alien-esk organs and industrial beats made the "dragging" transitions a lot less painful to watch.
The sex was hot in a weird, hopeless, and dorky kind of way. If you liked Keir Gilchrist from It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010), you'll be pleasantly surprised with his similar dorky ways in this one. And the movie is pretty much about the consequence of sex, yet the main character never actually deserved anything consequential.
There was quite a bit of visually appealing gore towards the end of the film, but up until that point, you couldn't fill a water bottle with the blood that was shed. BORING!
The jumps weren't jumpy enough for me, though they had great potential. If you've ever played Slender on a PC, it was very similar. You kind of have to spook yourself out in order to get scared because Slenderman never actually jumps-out on you; he just faintly appears behind a tree.
I really enjoyed this group. They were truly a fresh bunch and brought such an American Horror Story: Coven feel to the film.
Thriller or Horror?
I think this movie is sort of lost in limbo with it's category. I don't fully believe that it was horrifying enough to keep it's place in the horror genre, but I don't think the style of the film fits with a thriller. Thrillers often have climaxes and brief moments of resolution here and there. This film really had no "fight." I kept wanting the characters to figure out how to stop the antagonist, but it didn't seem like they even thought they could until the very end. Instead this movie became one long, dragged out game of sex-tag.
I watched this alone, as I do with every movie that comes my way in the summer of 2015, and nothing led me to hide under my covers. As un-frightening as it was, I didn't find myself losing focus. It's definitely a balanced film, though I don't exactly agree with all of the cliche choices David Robert Mitchell made as far as 'character actions.' He definitely made Jay, the main character, seem like a total pussy who does everything wrong (i.e. run up the stairs when your being chased). Instead of using originality, I often felt like he was trying to recreate cliches that just don't work anymore. Common now...
SO we can all sit around and say that the film was not up to par for a 2015 horror film, but put anything in theaters and it's expectations are already too high. The best finds wind up being in your Redbox because no one other than your local Stop & Shop customers know about it.
I recommend this movie for the sake of it's style. Watch it with no expectations and I can guarantee you at least a 5/10 good time. Enjoy!