My review of X (aka, The Slender Man Movie) in 10 bullet points

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Summary: X is a Slender Man film in found footage style directed by AJ Meadows, written by Jeremy Kirk, and produced by Tim Gowan and Stephanie Judd. How was it? Well, I'll bullet point it.

BLOT: (05 Jan 2014 - 01:06:01 PM)

My review of X (aka, The Slender Man Movie) in 10 bullet points

There is a movie called X that was, at some point (for instance, during its Kickstarter) called The Slender Man and it is about, well, you can figure out the rest. It has gone through some editing as well as a name change. I think the core story has stayed the same throughout: a pair of siblings investigate their father's research into disappearing children while a bereaved man tries to bargain with the skinniest devil of them all.

You can watch the whole thing, legit, for free, right on Youtube. See you in about an hour and a quarter? Cool. I'll wait.

Back? Ok. I watched it, myself, over two nights. One through about the first 20-ish minutes, the other the rest of the way. While watching it, I found myself in less of a "review" mode and more of a "scattered thought" mode, so I felt it best to capture that with the below bullet points:

  1. "Found Footage" does not have to be, and films like this show it should not be, all or nothing. The scenes with Kurt filming the children? Perfect as found footage. Drop the conceit nearly everywhere else.
  2. The sound design has nice touches and cues, but blends speaker-crackling screams with really soft follow-up scenes. Good luck, headphone-wearing watchers.
  3. In most Slender Man related media, the appearance of old Skinny Suit tends to look surprisingly weak. Wonder what it would look like if you stuck with practical effects?
  4. Was the sister supposed to be much younger in the original draft? Some of her lines, especially towards the beginning, seem like she was supposed to be around 12-15, maybe. This isn't a critique of the character, just an honest question.
  5. The mythos I enjoyed, though it felt like it needed a little more weight [PUN!]. The tie-in to Germany was good, a heftier chain to the present would have been better.
  6. This movie left me with a lot of nostalgia for those old low budget, works-of-passion horror movies that were sometimes painful to watch but also sometimes joyful. Good to see the tradition lives on.
  7. The acting had a little bit of a "fun night around a tabletop RPG session" feel. I actually liked that.
  8. I liked the Big Twist, but such things should be telegraphed a little better, throughout, to bring in the viewer.
  9. The movie goes confusing and maze-ish at the climax, and not really in a good way. Great sense of claustrophobia, but what was up with that old building? Dislocation is dangerous at such a critical time.
  10. I thought I was about to hate the ending to this movie, but then I loved it.

Final thoughts? Hmm. There is promise with just about everyone involved, and it really seemed that the number one thing holding this movie back from being better is the set of rules and conceits it started with. Considering the subject, and some of the shots, and the found-footage angle, it is going ot get shoved into a Marble Hornets corner, and that's an unfortunate place for it to find itself. I enjoyed myself watching it, and my wife enjoyed it with me, but Slender Man as a trope has a highly parabolic trajectory that is, unless someone does something big, already passed its zenith. X is not the revitalizing force it could have been, and that is its most damning fact. Still, I will watch what the filmmakers put out in the future. Watch the first 15 minutes, and even if you are not on board, you can probably see why.

Horror Movies


Written by Doug Bolden

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