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Not so scary movies

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Slender Man

Why does this movie exist?

For those of you who’ve been fortunate enough to not hear of Slender Man, congratulations!  Slender Man was a really popular internet story around early 2010– there was a video game, it was big on creepypasta. In short, if you had a little brother or sister in 2010, you’ve probably heard of it. Unfortunately, in 2014, two twelve-year-olds were arrested for stabbing their friend so they could live with Slender Man in his forest mansion, which obviously slightly stymied that popularity.

Now I’ll be optimistic and assume this film was a green light before the assault (which seems unlikely considering it came out this year and the incident occurred in four years ago).  However, the begins when four teenage girls summon Slender Man, and, in one case, join him in the woods.  It also continued to be screened after the father of one of the perpetrators publicly denounced the production.  Therefore, it doesn’t exactly seem as though the movie was written in spite of the stabbings, but rather because of them.

However, that the movie is incredibly distasteful is likely the only interesting part about it.  It’s a very generic movie– if you’ve ever watched a horror movie before, or even just heard of the concept, then nothing in Slender Man will surprise you, much less scare you.  

The producers also go to extensive lengths to parabolize modern-day technology (ǻ la Unfriended) but also have apparently have never once used a computer.  It would be funny if this movie was at all endearing. For example, Slender Man drives people insane via easily Google-able internet video (ǻ la The Ring).  Several times, it sends its victims footage of it approaching and entering their house, which conjures the bizarre image of Slender Man wearing a GoPro (this…. this might be the only original element).  

There’s absolutely nothing about this movie that is in any way justifiable, except maybe its complete failure at the box office.  In general, Slender Man would be an awful movie even if it wasn’t a despicable one.

 

Unsane

Though Unsane isn’t technically in theaters anymore, I hated it enough that it merits inclusion.  This movie– it’s just everything that I hate, and everything that’s wrong with the world, and just.  No. Why does this exist? Is someone trying to punish me? This would be at the bottom of the list if I only could, in good conscience, call Slender Man anything other than the worst.

Unsane revolves around Sawyer, a young woman who moves away from home to escape a stalker.  She naturally isn’t in the most stable mental state, so she decides to go into therapy.  Unfortunately for Sawyer, she manages to go to an evil asylum that not only immediately puts her under involuntary hold for implausible financial reasons, but also hires her stalker as a nurse who controls her medicine.

So, aside from the fact that literally none of this conceit makes any sense whatsoever, this movie is just a total waste of potential.  It’s told from an objective, third-person perspective- so the audience knows that the hospital is inherently evil, that Sawyer isn’t insane, and, most disappointingly, that her stalker actually exists and was somehow hired at the hospital.

Think about how much better a horror movie it would be if this had been shown through Sawyer’s perspective!  If we didn’t know for certain whether or not the narrator is sane, it would make for a much more ambiguous, and ultimately more frightening movie.  And the thing is, the movie is halfway there! Sawyer is not the most….. obviously sane woman. Sure, she has grounds to be angry, but she also gets in violent, physical fights with other patients, orderlies, and doctors an almost comical amount– it seems to be their go-to whenever something actually needs to happen.  Most of the plot is incredibly ridiculous– so much so that it would honestly make more sense if it was a delusion in the mind of a clinically insane woman. That uncertainty would make for a much better thriller than this somber, ridiculous, drudge of a movie.

 

Nun

 Nun is not a scary movie.  At its very best, it’s mildly startling, like the film version of  accidentally hit the brakes too fast (unless, of course, themes of death, exorcism, and religion are deeply frightening to you, in which case, why are you watching a horror movie?).  But while Nun certainly isn’t going to win any awards anytime soon- or at least, I sincerely hope it won’t- it’s probably the only film on this list that functions as an actual movie.

That’s because Nun is a film that people would voluntarily watch in their free time!  It’s self-serious enough to be comical– there’s a moment in the climax of the film where the titular nun just very slowly, and very seriously, rises from a pool of holy water, soaking wet, and the protagonist temporarily stops the nun by spitting in her (its?) face. However, it doesn’t take itself to be a radical piece of performance art that will forever change the cinematic landscape.  It’s just a movie! Neither great nor physically repulsive (*cough* Slender Man *cough*), Nun mostly succeeds because everything else is awful.

So yes, is a movie that is, at best, mediocre, ending up as the best horror movie coming out this Halloween?  Hopefully not! But of all the ones I’ve currently seen, Nun is the only one I’d actually recommend watching, if you don’t hate yourself.

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Not so scary movies