Sylvain White’s Slender Man (2018) is better than you’re probably expecting for a moribund piece of Internet culture. I’m surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.
The way that the movie looks and feels borrows plenty from The Ring (2002), and it has a similar story about a supernatural juggernaut that propagates itself through communication media. In The Ring, it was a video tape. In this movie, it’s the Internet, and the Slender Man in it is ours, from our world, the same Slender Man that was once all the rage. (Tall, faceless phantom with enveloping tentacles who goes around abducting people.)
The movie doesn’t go the predictable route of trying to trade on the Slender Man fad, like previous Slender Man movies have done. The fad itself is the monster here, which takes the form of a cultural virus, a demonic distributed-network Pied Piper waiting to infect some at-risk teen. I’m always up for a bit of that.
Top-biller Joey King needs to dial it back a little, but her co-star Julia Goldani Telles is a credit to the production. I hope we see her in more horror movies. The scares are thinner than they ought to be, though, and the CGI looks like it was fast and cheap.