Sunday, January 16, 2011

[C] H(a)unting

The blot we’re looking at today is one you’ve probably heard of. The blog name is H(a)unting, and it is about Sandra (17) and her two friends/guardians Lya (age not given, probably in her 20s) and Matt (27). Sandra, incidentally, has been followed by the Slender Man for ten years. Ten years.

The blog is fairly popular. Probably partially because it’s so different, and it’s a fun read. It was popular enough, however, for Robert Sage (of White Elephants) to give Sandra the title of “Oracle.” But does the blog hold up to its popularity? Well, that’s what we’re here for.

Like I said, it’s a fun read. But this strength is also a huge weakness. The blog is extremely polarizing. It’s about time that I explained why exactly this blog is so unique. You see, the Slender Man appears to have befriended Sandra. Evidently, he finds her to be an enigma because his stalking has no major psychological effect on her, and lets her live because he wants to understand her.

There are two large problems with this blog. The first is that the Slender Man is…well, he’s just not the Slender Man. He’s a tall faceless guy. It’s hard to find him scary when he watches Sandra play Fatal Frame, wears sunglasses after watching Concrete Giraffes, or is amused by all the parodies of him. The blog implies that he’ll kill her when he understands why his stalking doesn’t get to her, but his actions indicate otherwise. While his overprotective attitude (i.e., keeping her alive by killing threats to her) is believable under that theory, giving her birthday presents and singing to her is not. It is refreshing to see him with a twisted sense of humor (hanging up a corpse as a “pi├▒ata” comes to mind), but often times it devolves into silliness. There’s the aforementioned sunglasses incident, and he hands out flowers after seeing the “Splendorman” video.

On top of that, he communicates through writing. Hey, Slendy, complaining about not being called intelligent? Learn to put spaces between your words, and then we’ll talk. There’s absolutely no reason for that other than sticking with the code tropes. On top of that, it indicates that he can be understood…which completely destroys the scariest thing about him.

So with an unscary Slender Man, how do they provide tension? By introducing (what is presumably) another Slender Man, referred to as ///It///. While there are some who believe this theory, it’s largely scoffed at in the community.

The blog’s other problem is that Sandra is something of a Mary Sue. Her parents are dead. She’s missing an eye, and the other one has somehow had an operator symbol carved into it (yeah, don’t ask me…I don’t know how it works either). She’s got exceptional wit that never seems to fail her. Anyone who disagrees with her has Slendy sicced on them like he’s her pet. She’s granted the title of “Oracle.” But most gratingly, she’s “special” because she is somehow immune to the Slender Man’s powers. Because of this, he keeps her alive because he wants to try to understand her. That last sentence is highly reminiscent of Twilight, and I think we all know how Twilight is regarded amongst everyone who is not a (pre)teen girl. As a result, I can’t take Sandra seriously at all. Matt and Lya would be a bit more interesting if they were more developed. As they are now, they’re largely just characters for Sandra to interact with. They’re not compelling like Zeke Strahm or identifiable like M or interesting like Damien. They’re just there, like most other bloggers.

And now for the technical nitpicks. The blog’s background is really nothing special. The purple/blue/green text on black background can be a bit hard on the eyes at times. The blog history is also laid out so that the months don’t simply expand and contract; they open one at a time, and the page reloads every time they do. While it’s not as bad as some blogs (Musical Occurrences awkwardly places the history at the way bottom, and any WordPress blog is difficult to navigate), it can be a little annoying at times. Again, these are just minor nitpicks, and don’t make the blog unreadable.

So what’s the verdict? Well, the blog isn’t really “bad,” per se. It can be genuinely entertaining. The concept is truly original, and the mood whiplash is done pretty well. This is really a prime example of “love it or hate it.” It requires a bit of the willing suspension of disbelief, but then again, what slenderblog doesn’t? It’s fairly well written and is genuinely funny at times.

I’m giving H(a)unting a [C]. If it’s your style of blog, it’s pretty good, and even if you don’t like it, there are plenty of redeemable things about it. However, if you’re looking for a good slenderstory, I’d recommend passing on this. It breaks away from formula, yes, but the formula it uses doesn’t particularly work. It’s more of a blog with the Slender Man in it than an actual Slenderblog. It’s not a bad read, it’s just one that I wouldn’t recommend.

~ Andy