Slender Man Blu-ray Review
The Ring gets a YouTube upgrade
Slender Man Film Review
Slender Man makes a movie out of the internet meme character, basically refashioning a poor man's Ring story for the internet generation.The real life "Slender Man" phenomena started out as a joke, but actually became something very serious indeed, when children began stabbing each other and blaming their actions on the fictional internet meme. Now, that's a story which is ripe for reaping psychological horror rewards - folding it all up with chicken-and-egg twists that make the viewer question whether there really was a "Slender Man", cursing people for bringing him to life, Candyman-style, even before the internet supposedly created him.
Alas, this big screen Slender Man interpretation doesn't even attempt to blur lines of reality and fiction, instead merely porting the age-old Ring story of a group of individuals who watch a clip invoking the Slender Man's wrath, slowly eaten up one by one as part of a curse that can only be quelled by a personal sacrifice which looks remarkably like, well, death.
The actual real life stories surrounding the fictional character could have made for a far more chilling tale.
Director Sylvain White brought the colourful graphic novel The Losers to life with a cast to die for, and managed to turn a pretty flimsy low budget affair into something of a stylish guilty pleasure action romp, but he's had more experience with horrors - and not to great effect. What he brings to the table in this - and several of his other features - is a sense of genuine chemistry and camaraderie between the core groups at the centre of the stories, here bringing The Affair's Julia Goldani Telles, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's Jaz Sinclair, The Red Road's Annalise Basso, and Joey King - from Independence Day: Resurgence and White House Down - together as a bunch of teens who engender the wrath of the eponymous demon.
The trouble is pretty much everything else, and by all it counts, it sounds like the Studios had no faith in the production from the outset, angering the public even upon the trailer's debut (released 4 years after the real-life murders) and then making a last-minute decision to cut it down for a PG-13 rating, leading not only to cuts in violence but also entire story strands taken out. The finished feature is neutered, at times nonsensical, and also extremely formulaic, put together using familiar pieces from better movies, and incapable of either psychologically disturbing, viscerally satiating or even really creeping you out. Which is a shame, because a twist on the actual real life stories surrounding the fictional character could have made for a far more chilling tale, PG-13 or not.
Slender Man Blu-ray PictureSlender Man's UK Blu-ray release affords it a decent, although hardly demo, 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen, trading in that Ring-tastic near-monochrome look which, unfortunately, drifts closer to 'murky' than 'moody'.
Decent although hardly demo.
Digitally shot, you're hardly left wanting in the detail department, with strong textures and nice facial observations. The stylised 'grain' look gives it a faux gritty edge, but also robs it of any real edge. The film is immensely dark - the kind of thing that only Dolby Vision can really handle - but despite the plague of night skies and creepy shadows in the black woods, the image handles it all very well indeed, with some crush, but little else in the way of digital defects to affect your visual enjoyment of the feature.
Slender Man Blu-ray Sound
Shut your eyes and it's a whole other experience, hinting at what film this could have been.
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is arguably the release's biggest strength, crafting a palpable atmosphere which does deliver plenty of disconcerting moments, even if neither the story nor the visuals can quite live up to the aural expectations. Shut your eyes and it's a whole other experience, hinting at what film this could have been, with strong dialogue delivery, but superb effects and score focus, creaking around in the woods, slithering up your arms and doing its damnedest to send shivers down your spine. It's effective, when literally all else fails.
Slender Man Blu-ray ExtrasThere's a Summoning Slender Man: Meet the Cast Featurette and some Previews.
Slender Man Blu-ray Verdict
Slender Man could have been something special.
Slender Man could have been something special - there's enough real chills to frame the fictional thrills in a clever way - but this is just lazy filmmaking through and through. At least the Blu-ray provides strong video and immersive (albeit not technically) audio, leaving it a solid release for fans to pick up.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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