Monday, May 25, 2015

Always Watching: A Marble Hornet Story, or The Best Slenderman Film So Far

6 of 7 viewers "Liked" "Always Watching: A Marble Hornet Story" (USA, 2015)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Book Wyrm - " I thought the movie was a fun glimpse into the world of Slenderman and was especially nostalgic if  you were a fan of the original games like I am." - 4 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "This is some workman level found-footage horror. Everything is solid, but nothing is inspired. Slenderman is a very striking figure aesthetically, and he comes off here as genuinely imposing and mysterious until you begin to realize there isn't much more to him than the fact that he looks creepy. Such a tantalizingly mysterious character demands to be explored but the filmmakers played it safe; less is more but none is least. Nevertheless, there are many strong moments in the film that provoke dread and suggest unknown worlds. Indeed this film could have benefited by some Lovecraftian-style lore or, dare I say, exposition. I definitely recommend this be enjoyed in a theatre setting, if you can find a theatre that's actually screening it." - 3 Stars

Ice Giant - "If you're looking for a Slenderman movie you might wanna skip Always Watching, but if you're looking for a middle of the road found footage movie with decent acting and scares this just might be the 11PM Netflix movie for you." - 3.5 Stars

Bear - "I love the Slenderman mythos, that being said this movie kind of let me down. I just think it could have more. Slenderman is a complex yet simplistic character. A giant towering over you, tormenting your every thought. I felt that slightly. The effects were eerie but I feel like Slenderman could have had a better part. The plot and characters actually made the movie tolerable. The way it was filmed it made me feel like the characters felt isolated, maybe to intensify the fact that it's just them and the Slenderman now. Paranormal Activity/Blair Witch/The Slenderman Game = Always Watching." - 3 Stars

KillDozer - "Good actors, bad script, and editing that would have worked well 15 years ago. I am not a fan of films that feel long and this film dragged on about an hour longer than I would have liked. I hope this was a learning experience for everyone involved because I honestly feel as though the potential is there to make something worth while but this is a lack luster piece of film and was not worth the admission fee. I will say this though, I would happily watch the amazing and fun Angus Scrim cameo again and again! Also it never hurts to support your local independent film house." - 1 Star

Lord Battle - "It's such a shame that Always Watching was soooo mediocre. Great cast, perfect story for a found footage movie, and an interesting script. Something must have happened during production, this movie feels rushed and is poorly executed. Pacing and atmosphere are a must for a Slenderman film and Always Watching lacked in both. One thing this film was really full of is eastereggs; there were a tone of little nods to Slenderman (a flower vase that has several blank faces) or signs that he's been there (magnets on the fridge form his symbol) and I don't get why other found footage films never seem to include this. When a film is hinging on a voyeur theme it makes sense to have your audience probing every frame looking for clues/the villain. I'm adding a half star to my rating because I would watch this again to catch more Eastereggs." - 3.5 Stars

Huntress - "I may not know everything there is about Slenderman and I have yet to play one of the games that features him, but I know enough of his story to recognize a missed opportunity in Always Watching. The film makers had all the right pieces: foresty settings, perfect for partially obstructing; found footage type camera, which seems like the best way to film Slenderman; and of course Doug Jones playing the mythical monster man (the reason I got excited to see this), because who could do it better?? But none of these elements were used to their full potential, except maybe the found footage aspect. This film was full of anticipation, but hardly any pay off. Much like the boy who cried wolf, the anticipation lost its effect and the story remained mild. Lurking around and following people may be a big part of Slenderman's process but I just wanted there to be a little more of him actually walking/moving on screen, instead of just appearing. Maybe knowing more about Slenderman would have helped, but just from a horror aspect I was left wanting more. This is not to say that Always Watching didn't have its moments; they just got overshadowed by my disappointment." - 3 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*

It seemed as though everyone except for myself, Ice Giant and Bear hated this movie. Perhaps this had something to do with us being the only three who had played the games or had some prior knowledge about who Slenderman actually was, but I think it was just because there were too many scenes in the woods where nothing happened. The main reason I really enjoyed this film was because of the suspense I felt throughout it. I had played the games, Slender and Jail (I think the names changed since the last time I played them but whatever) when they first came out and the hype about Slenderman was still a new thing. Through the entire movie I was just looking for Slenderman and searching for him in corners and shadows and every time the camera would go static-y I would get a little bit scared. What really freaked me out was a line from the movie that said, "looking for him just invites him in," considering that I spent the entire movie doing just that. I thought the movie was a fun glimpse into the world of Slenderman and was especially nostalgic if  you were a fan of the original games like I was, but according to everyone else it was nothing new in the world of found footage and an "eh" movie at best which I can't really disagree with. Take it as you will, I thought this movie was pretty cool.


*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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