By now there’s plenty- plenty – of short horror films based on the Slender Man, the internet/creepypasta’s one, truly great, contribution to the horror genre. Often they’re much of a muchness, relying mainly on the audience’s prior knowledge and fear of the blank-faced, occasionally-tentacled figure.
Eddie Adamson’s Victim however is mindful to set up the concept of the Slender Man, giving him a creepy introduction. There’s your standard horror shots here, but they work effectively due to the natural and relatable setting and actions of protagonist John. The locations are well picked, just right when it comes to a weird shot of the Slender Man standing in the distance in a tranquil field. It’s the tranquility and attractiveness of the film that is undercut with the presence of the Slender Man that works so well. There’s one shot in particular, again nothing new, that manages to deliver a real scare.
It’s great to see the origins of the Slender Man explored as well. Some films which use the character almost seem to try and brush over the fact his legend comes from the internet. But as we’ve seen in great films like Antisocial and Unfriended, the internet is such a constant presence in our lives that it’s a prime place from which to generate horror. Adamson knows this too, and there’s an appreciated vindication in Victim acknowledging this.
The ending wears its inspiration from the game Slender on it’s sleeve. It comes up a little short: as a player you can get away with a cliche setting as you’re the one in the situation. As a film viewer though, there’s more of a story/audience distance, and as such the finale isn’t affecting. Despite this, Victim is still a very well done short.
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