|Directed by||Sylvain White|
|Written by||David Birke|
|Based on||Slender Man|
by Victor Surge
|Cinematography||Luca Del Puppo|
|Edited by||Jake York|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$51.7 million|
Slender Man is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed by Sylvain White and written by David Birke, based on the character of the same name. The film stars Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Taylor Richardson, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, and Alex Fitzalan with Javier Botet as the title character.
Development of the film began in May 2016, with Birke hired to write the script and much of the cast signing on a year later. Filming took place in Massachusetts in June and July 2017.
Released in the United States on August 10, 2018, the film was panned by critics and audiences but was a modest box office success, grossing $51.7 million against a budget between $10‒28 million. For her performance, Sinclair was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress.
In the fictional small town of Winsford, Massachusetts, Hallie Knudsen, Katie Jensen and their friends Chloe and Wren approach a group of boys to probe their evening plans, but they are told that it is top secret. During a sleepover in the basement of Katie's abode, the girls discuss the boys' intentions to summon the Slender Man, a tall, thin, horrifying supernatural being with a featureless visage who is infamously known throughout the Internet as a menacing individual who primarily targets innocent children by seducing and then abducting them; they subsequently visit a website containing a link to a disturbing video that demonstrates how he can be reached. The following week, on a class field trip to the historic Clifton Cemetery, Katie becomes haunted by a paranormal presence in the trees. A short amount of time passes before she disappears without a trace, forcing the entire crowd of students to stay behind for hours until the police arrive to begin examining the premises. Deciding to hunt for clues at her dwelling, the other three recover her laptop, discovering that Katie, who had been unhappily living alone with her alcoholic father, had become involved in the occult, developing an unhealthy obsession with Slender Man sightings and videos and messaging Allison Riley, also identifiable by her online handle "AleeyKat93", regarding methods of reaching the character, who would spirit her away from her currently miserable environment.
Allison explains that he infects people’s minds similar to a virus, eventually either driving them completely insane or kidnapping them, and to retrieve Katie from his clutches, the trio need to "unveil themselves", which they interpret as surrendering an item that is very special to each of them. Wren brings a piece of handmade pottery that she created when she was five years old, Chloe offers a picture of her and her father taken prior to his passing a few months afterwards, and Hallie relinquishes her younger sister Lizzie’s blanket, woven by their grandmother upon her birth. Having researched Slender Man mythology, Wren instructs Hallie and Chloe to don blindfolds and warns the pair against removing them or opening their eyes to look directly at his face while contacting him, even if they hear something, for fear of death or madness. However, Chloe panics and flees, meeting the Slender Man up close. Sometime later, he enters Chloe's house and drives her mad.
Wren, suffering from frightening visions, researches further about the figure in the local library, where it attacks her, and Hallie unsuccessfully attempts to move on from the issue by spending the night with her boyfriend Tom, for which Wren chastises her. Meanwhile, Lizzie suffers a major panic attack and is hospitalized and sedated. Scouring her computer, Hallie discovers that Wren, aided by Lizzie, had attempted to contact the Slender Man.
Heading to Wren's residence to confront her, Hallie encounters information that Wren gathered in her bedroom concerning Slender Man and his victims, one of whom was Allison Riley, a psychiatric patient who claimed that the malevolent entity absconded with nine of her peers. After Hallie dissuades her from committing suicide, Wren, feeling guilty for causing the recent chain of events, breaks down and confesses that Lizzie approached her with interest in the Slender Man and asked that she accompany her to the woods, where she offered her teddy bear to him. She then admits that the sacrifices they gave him earlier were insufficient, as he will only rest once he has seized all of them physically. Suddenly, Slender Man shatters the glass window and kidnaps her, pulling her outside with his tentacles appearing in the shape of branches. Hallie, now realizing that her sole available option for rescuing Lizzie is to sacrifice herself to him, ventures into the wooded area to deal with him upfront. Encountering the monster, she pleads for him to take her instead. He obliges, and moves to grab her as she tries to escape. Using his enormous appendages to traverse the forest like a spider, he grabs and ensnares her, both of them fusing together as a tree. Lizzie awakens in the hospital screaming for her sister, but ultimately makes a successful recovery and reflects on what happened to the quartet.
- Joey King as Wren
- Julia Goldani Telles as Hallie Knudsen
- Jaz Sinclair as Chloe
- Annalise Basso as Katie Jensen
- Alex Fitzalan as Tom, Hallie's love interest
- Taylor Richardson as Lizzie Knudsen, Hallie's younger sister
- Javier Botet as Slender Man
- Kevin Chapman as Mr. Jensen, Katie's alcoholic father
- Jessica Blank as Mrs. Knudsen, Hallie and Lizzie's mother
- Michael Reilly Burke as Mr. Knudsen, Hallie and Lizzie's father
In May 2016, news outlets reported that Sony Pictures had started developing Slender Man, a film based on the supernatural mythical character created by Eric Knudsen, with the screenplay to be written by David Birke. Sony's Screen Gems was in talks with Mythology Entertainment, Madhouse Entertainment, and It Is No Dream Entertainment to produce and distribute the project.
In January 2017, Sylvain White was announced as the director of the film and the producers would be Mythology's James Vanderbilt, and William Sherak, Madhouse's Robyn Meisinger, and No Dream's Sarah Snow. Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell composed the score for the film.
Prior to the release, the producers shopped the film to other distributors following disagreements with the studio regarding the release and marketing strategy. After the film was released, Bloody Disgusting reported that Screen Gems had required the producers to meet an R MPAA rating and that several scenes had been cut over fears of public backlash (including several scenes that had appeared in trailers), resulting in narrative and continuity issues in the final film.
In May 2017, Lea van Acken, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Talitha Bateman, and Alex Fitzalan joined the cast. In July 2017, Kevin Chapman was also added, to play an emotionally defeated, alcoholic father.
On January 2, 2018, the first teaser poster was revealed, with a teaser trailer the following day. Reactions were mixed, with some online publications describing the trailer as taking a "traditional, low-budget horror route". Other publications noted the film's release coming four years after the Slender Man stabbing in Waukesha County, Wisconsin in 2014. After the trailer's online debut, Bill Weier, the father of one of the children convicted in the stabbing, protested the film's production and release as "extremely distasteful" and advised local theaters to not screen the film. A second trailer was released on July 26, 2018.
Slender Man was released on August 10, 2018. It was previously slated for May 18, and then August 24, 2018. Marcus Theatres did not show the film at their locations in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties in Wisconsin due to the impacts of the real-life events in the area.
Slender Man grossed $30.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $21.2 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $51.7 million.
In the United States and Canada, Slender Man was released alongside The Meg and BlacKkKlansman, and was projected to gross $9–12 million from 2,109 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $4.9 million on its first day, including $1 million from Thursday night previews, and went on to debut to $11.3 million, finishing fourth at the box office. It fell 56% to $5 million in its second weekend, finishing eighth.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Slender Man holds an approval rating of 8% based on 80 reviews and an average rating of 3.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Slender Man might be thin, but he's positively robust compared to the flimsy assortment of scares generated by the would-be chiller that bears his name." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 30 out of 100 based on 15 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an "awful" 38% positive score; social media monitor RelishMix noted that "the majority's feeling toward [the] film" was negative.
David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a D, writing "a tasteless and inedibly undercooked serving of the Internet's stalest creepypasta, Slender Man aspires to be for the YouTube era what The Ring was to the last gasps of the VHS generation. But... there's one fundamental difference that sets the two movies apart: The Ring is good, and Slender Man is terrible."
- Slender: The Eight Pages
- Slender: The Arrival
- Marble Hornets
- Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story
- Beware the Slenderman
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