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"Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story" aka Slender man the movie because lets face it, that's exactly what this movie is.

Even though its based on a web-series and the evil character in the movie gets called The Operator there is absolutely no denying or any doubt about it that Slender and The Operator are the same 'person'. I mean, just look at the cover of this movie! Even the creator of the web series admits it was inspired by the legend of Slender man so yes, there you have it!

And now that's out of the way, how's the movie? Well, it's a found-footage movie, so yeah...But to be fair, if there is any story that's perfectly suitable for a found-footage approach, then its the Slender man legend. The movie never makes any good use of its found- footage approach though and it never truly succeeds in building up a good atmosphere or create some good enough tension and mystery for the movie.

It's also unfortunate how this movie has all of the familiar found-footage clichés and weaknesses in it, without ever attempting to do anything new or creative with its concept. Really, if you're fed up with found-footage movies, like me, or if you have seen a bunch of them already, there is absolutely no reason why you should go watch this one as well, not even if you're into the whole Slender man thing.

When watching a found-footage movie you always know that you're not going to see anything until the very end of it and all that you're going to see and hear are a couple of knocks and a bunch of flashes of a figure, while the camera occasionally gets knocked over or starts to shake heavily because characters are in a frenzy and start to run with it. All clichés that truly become annoying and tiresome to see in movies once you have seen a bunch of them already. But the one cliché that perhaps is more annoying than this is the fact that the movies always feature a bunch of scenes in it that make no sense within the concept of a found-footage movie. Arguments get conveniently filmed and characters constantly show their flaws and weaknesses on cameras, all things that make no sense to get filmed, in the context of a found-footage movie. Is there really no other way around this? Please use some more thought and creativity when making these kind of movies!

There is a real lack of any good tension or mystery throughout the movie and the movie therefore also has no real shocking moments are any effective scare moments in it. This all has to do with the story and the way how it gets handled. For most part of the movie there is no real mystery and all that it's about is a group of people seeing a strange figure appear outside of their window once in awhile or on some of the videos they shoot. Who is the figure, why is he there and what does he want, are all answers that don't become much of on issue, until the movie its final 30 minutes or so. It's all far too late. The movie should had done a better job creating a good atmosphere and building up some good mystery during its first half in order for things to work out successfully but all it does is featuring all of the familiar clichés and jump scares, that all of us are tired off already and immune for by now.

It makes far too little use of its main concept and character. I mean, they got Doug Jones to play the 'creature' but they hardly do anything with his character at all. Why is Doug Jones even in this? His talent really goes to waste in this. It's also the main reason why this movie will most likely disappoint those who expect to finally see a good Slender man movie, that's delving into the story of the character and the whole mystery surrounding it. The movie does absolutely none of that, at least never in a very good or effective way. It really doesn't matter that Slender is the creature in this. He might as have been a giant Smurf instead, played by a completely unknown actor and the story and movie would have been exactly the same. Well, OK maybe in this case not entirely but you get my point.

I'll admit that it's far from the worst, most boring, or most ridicules genre movie that I have seen but it's far too formulaic and not effective enough as a found-footage or horror movie to ever recommend this movie to anyone.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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