Alas, Slender Man is a movie about more than just Slender. Let me rephrase, it contains more than just Slender! The main cast of actresses in our troubled teen clique aren’t terrible at their jobs most the time. Some do better than others, but for the most part it’s not painful to watch. This is good, because the main screen time is on them. There’s a bit of overacting at times, certainly some underacting at others, but nothing that stands out as straight up bad without at least a little direction to be it. The characters are perhaps a bit more likeable than the average teen movie girls can end up being, but at the same time the movie seems to go out of the way to make them seem different without actually giving them any character in doing so. They are distinguishable by looks, one passing comment makes it seem on is the more athletic and smart one, but largely nothing is really given to them to build them up outside their plight unless you count a scene of reacting to some “naughty videos” online or the one with the least screen time expressing her dislike of her life situation. If you are looking for smart actions out of characters, this isn’t the horror movie for it either. Some of it could be hand-waved off with “but they are so frightened” or “Slender-Madness” I suppose, but you won’t find any real moments of “about time you made a right choice!“ in this movie.
The performances can be a roller coaster at times, as can the effects, but the sound department keeps it all pretty level and feet on the ground. You don’t have any real issues hearing things (at least, after you turn down your noisy darn AC unit) and the balance of it all is well done. They do throw in the “gotcha!” stings here and there, at times accompanying a jump scare, but overall the general disposition of the music proper is to enhance the suspense, dread, and tensions of either things coming or perceived to be happening. It will also allow Slender-like activities to happen at times without bringing attention to it with audio, which is a nice little bonus and something I can and do appreciate. Nothing in here is going to remain for any amount of time as far as audio goes, outside perhaps the dull bass wubbing of Slendy creeping on people. Still, at least it is something that I don’t have to knock around with a foot while saying good things about it.
Oddly, the pacing is a bit strange. The front end feels like it’s traveling a hundred miles an hour, skipping expanses of time with barely any notice to the watcher at all, until finally the Slender plot begins and things slow way up to a more generic horror pacing. Spooky thing, bad choice, research, spooky thing, repeat. It doesn’t overstay anything even when it slows down a little at the end, but the final payoff feels more like you actually won pennies instead of a jackpot. Part of this might be, I suspect, due to cut scenes involving an escaped crazy - seen only in the trailer. Outside of the time passing being somewhat amorphous, and the lack of any real form of character growth (if you even had character to begin with), it does at the very least handle most the horror elements quite well. A few misdirects, a few good shots playing on the peripheral, messing with reality, and a few really cool shots that could almost be considered camera tricks as well. When it fumbles the horror it usually ends up feeling more like a splat than a solid thump, and part of it could as far as I know just have been a puttering out of ideas by the time it came to how to end the movie.