Even by the low standards of lame PG-13 horror movies about teenage girls being harassed by supernatural entities, Slender Man is quite bad. Based on a folkloric boogeyman created in 2009 for an internet contest, this aimless turd has New England high-schoolers Wren (Joey King), Hallie (Julia Goldani Telles), Chloe (Jaz Sinclair), and Katie (Annalise Basso) opening themselves up to deviltry by watching a cursed YouTube video about Slender Man, a pale, gaunt figure who goes around snatching kids and/or poisoning their minds. “It’s different for everyone,” Wren says, “but it only ends in insanity or death.” When Katie disappears during a field trip a week later, the others wonder if Slender Man might be real after all.
What follows comes from the usual template, but in the laziest way imaginable. Wren and Hallie use the library and internet to research Slender Man, all the while suffering from hallucinations and optical illusions that might be scary if they meant anything. The threats posed by Mr. Man are ill-defined, and the girls consistently fail to follow the instructions for getting rid of him. Director Sylvain White (The Losers) can’t muster a single creepy image or build more than a few seconds’ worth of tension, not that David Birke’s clumsy, ambiguous screenplay gives him much to work with. I doubt there’s an audience anywhere whose expectations are low enough to enjoy this.