Slender Man Parent Guide
This horror film's plot is even thinner than the title suggests.
Parent Movie Review
In a small town in Massachusetts, students at the local high school decide to watch a video to “summon” the Slender Man. Though it starts as a joke, the consequences become apparent shortly thereafter, when Katie (Annalise Basso) disappears on a field trip to a nearby historical cemetery. The other girls realize that perhaps it was unwise to play with something which claims to unleash child-snatching monsters. (Who knew, right?) And soon they have their own experiences with the mysterious antagonist.
As if calling a supernatural creature isn’t bad enough, there are plenty of other issues in this film that will bother family viewers. One of these is the abuse of alcohol by both adult and teen characters. High school students are shown in a basement with empty vodka bottles, clearly inferring they have been drinking it. The parent in the house – a known alcoholic – is depicted passed out in a chair next to more empty bottles. Also troubling is a scene where the teens watch and talk about pornography (the illicit material is not visible to the audience). This gratuitous content does not serve to develop either the plot or any of the characters. Rather, it seems to exist only to establish “edgy” credentials, or to claim legitimacy by asserting that this is what “real kids” are doing.
Perhaps the biggest potential problem of horror movies is the violence. In Slender Man much of that action is implied or happens off-screen, but there is still plenty of frightening material to go around. Several teenagers are choked or grabbed. The film plays heavily with disturbing imagery, including portrayals of dissections, deformed and unnatural human figures. As well, there are frequent, rapid cuts between pictures of corpses, the Slender Man himself, and a spooky, mist-filled forest. Viewers sensitive to intense, flashing lights should probably sit this one out.
Production issues also reduce this “Skinny Boy’s” appeal, especially since the director seems to have exhausted his budget on artsy shots, leaving only enough money for unconvincing CGI. As such, this “Underweight Lad” traipses through the forest after our protagonist like something out of a student film. Further evidence of its amateur sensibilities is its lighting: Some of the sets are so dark that it is hard to figure out what’s happening on screen. Yet instead of increasing suspense, this simply raises the boredom level.
Thinner on plot than the title suggests, even Slender Man’s frightening moments had me checking my watch and wishing I’d thought to buy a snack at the concessions stand. Due to the content mentioned above, the film is inappropriate for young viewers—who are, unfortunately, also the only people likely to be scared by it.Directed by Sylvain White. Starring Joey King, Javier Botet, Julia Goldani Telles . Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release August 10, 2018. Updated August 10, 2018
Rating & Content Info
Why is Slender Man rated PG-13? Slender Man is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for disturbing images, sequences of terror, thematic elements and language including some crude sexual references.
Violence: Two teenagers are shown being choked. More are seen being chased or grabbed. A man hits a teenager in a drunken rage after breaking into her home. All violence shown or implied involves children.
Sexual Content: The script sexual references and crude terms. Teenagers are depicted watching and discussing pornography. Two teenagers kiss and embrace on a couch when they have the house to themselves. Teen pregnancy is discussed.
Profanity: Frequent use of moderate profanity. One instance of extreme language, including a crude hand gesture.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are references to and depictions of underage drinking. A parental figure is a violent alcoholic and is frequently seen drinking. Other adults are shown briefly drinking wine with dinner.
Page last updated August 10, 2018
More parents' guide for Slender Man after the break...
Slender Man Parents' GuideWhy do we watch “scary” movies? Is there a purpose to deliberately frightening ourselves?
What values does this movie promote? What are the results of doing things that we know or feel to be wrong? Can these consequences be this extreme?
Why do we create urban legends like Slender Man? How does this sinister villain compare to earlier monster stories, like Dracula?
Related home video titles:
It’s difficult to find horror movies to recommend to a family audience. Something like The Nightmare Before Christmas has a much less content concerns and a better aesthetic design. Actress Joey King also appears in the family-friendly Ramona and Beezus and the action movie Battle Los Angeles.