2021, baby! Happy New Year! After a remarkably shitty year we’ve entered into a new one full of possibility, and I’m starting it off by reviewing absolute dogshit. January is dedicated to movies considered to be “the worst ever.” I’ve already touched on a few on the IMDB Bottom 100 like The Room, Cats, Batman & Robin, and even Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas earlier this week. Then there are the movies from Rotten Tomato’s “The Worst Horror Movies of All Time” list, including Brahms: The Boy II, Fantasy Island, and the Jacob’s Ladder remake. And I’ve also talked about a few that my friends have absolutely hated, such as Plankton, The Star Wars Holiday Special, and Cats… again (multiple people named that one). But is there a movie that falls on all three lists? Something IMDB thinks is the worst, Rotten Tomatoes thinks is the worst, and Movie Night watched on one of our “Worst of 20XX” nights and loathed?
Oh, hello Slender Man. I was not looking forward to watching you again, but here we are. 2021, baby…
While at a slumber party, teen girls Wren, Hallie, Chloe, and Katie watch a creepy video that’s supposed to summon Slender Man. 7 days later and Katie vanishes, like this was The Ring or something. Anyway, the other girls realize something bad happened–worse than a normal disappearance–and more bad stuff keeps coming. Chloe becomes catatonic and Wren becomes obsessed (and later abducted), so we’re stuck with Hallie, the blandest actress of the quartet. We get some awful effects that are mostly there to add to the run time, but then the plot kicks in again and Hallie’s little sister is institutionalized due to Slender Man’s influence (and Wren being a bitch). Hallie finds Slender Man and surrenders herself to the entity, but he’s too spooky so she runs. But even that doesn’t matter because he catches her and she gets absorbed into a tree. The little sister is apparently fine, and the movie just ends unceremoniously.
There were a lot of decisions the filmmakers made that just don’t work. For example, when the girls want to go search through Hallie’s room for a clue, they see her alcoholic father asleep in the living room. Knowing the back door is unlocked, they just sneak in, right? Nope! Wren rings the doorbell, wakes him up, and chats with him while Chloe and Hallie sneak upstairs. With the dad inviting Wren in to talk more, how do Chloe and Hallie manage to sneak out? We never find out. But the bad writing goes further! There’s Tom, a guy Hallie is sweet on. Not only does he have an unintentionally hilarious “scary” moment while the two were making out (seriously, if I saw this in theaters I would’ve burst out laughing), but he later watches the Slender Man summoning video as well. He shows up to school moody and with bruises on his wrist, and then… nothing. He just ceases to be. Hallie being on the track team is a pointless subplot, Katie apparently asking Slender Man to abduct her is never really explored, we have overused tropes like a character waking up from a nightmare and then waking up FOR REAL after that, and all-in-all the movie’s a lot of nothing going nowhere.
What I can find about the film’s production clearly didn’t help. The film was forcibly cut down to a PG-13 rating to better reach the teen demographic AND because Sony got pushback for making a movie partly inspired by an real incident where two 12-year-old girls nearly stabbed a third girl to death in order to get Slender Man’s attention. Big yikes. You can see some of these problems in the trailers, which have their own issues. The second trailer completely spoils the ending while the first includes several scenes that never happened in the final release: Tom apparently jumping off a building (is that where he disappeared to?), Chloe stabbing herself in the eye during class, and Allison Riley walking out of the woods after apparently cutting her tongue out. Who’s Allison Riley? Why, she’s Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film! She’s supposed to be the one messaging the girls throughout the movie as AleeyKat93, a person we never see in the final cut who mysteriously disappears before the climax. Could less interference from Sony save this movie? Doubtful. Either way this was doomed to be a movie I’m going to forget every detail about, now for the second time.
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