Reviews: Marble Hornets

Very good, but perhaps has gone on longer than needed


I followed the series up until Entry 43, then dropped it for two years. I've recently caught up on the series, with the last entry being #75 at the time of this writing.

Marble Hornets is an interesting series. The audio glitches are very well done, and the mystery is fascinating. It's also neat to see how the series develops, from a slow paced collection of creepy videos without context to a detective mystery driven by the previously unseen audience surrogate to the main character gaining a companion who can offer insight and physical assistence. But despite the many good things about it, I feel that it's length is starting to harm the series.

There are stretches in the series where it feels like nothing's truly being accomplished. Every answer is met with another question, which was the main reason I dropped the series for so long. A weakness of season 3 is that while the burned out buildings were very neat, it felt like the characters were exploring the same setting over and over again. Watching the videos in succession, I think the Nothing Is Scarier aspect of the Operator starts to backfire, because I realized how little he actually does anything. It got to the point where his appearances didn't frighten me because I didn't feel like the characters were in actual danger. I've come to find Alex the most menacing antagonist of the series, because he's openly psychotic and there's a very real chance he could kill someone.

What makes it hard to judge the series is that it's still ongoing. There's no way to tell how well everything will tie together, and what will end up being important and what will end up feeling like a waste of time. Of course, if you leave nothing about the mystery ambiguous you risk making it less scary, but if you don't answer anything then the story may become boring. Hopefully the ending will be as high quality as most of the series, but getting there is going to require a lot of patience.

Dramatic, Realistic, And Wonderfully Horrorfying

One of the best online story's that depict the "Slenderman" AKA The Operator. Being scarier then almost any other Hollywood movie or Creepypasta, Marble Hornets is certainly a truly frighting series.The creators pulling this off with just a video camera and some small resources doesn't take away any High Octane Nightmare Fuel.If you want to truly be scared out of your wits this is the thing that can do that.One of the scariest Web Originals out there.

Moody, Minimalistic, Mind-bending, and Extremely Scary

Marble Hornets is probably the only thing I've seen since I was a child that left me wanting to crawl under the bed. This series takes the idea of Nothing Is Scarier to new heights in such creative and innovative ways. It takes its time and builds tension, often without even showing us the antagonist or his/its actions. It creates a deeply disconcerting mood, filling even the most mundane videos with tension and dread.

Those precious few entries when the Operator or Masked Man appear on screen for more than a few seconds are astounding. The tension that had been building in previous episodes comes to a head in the most disturbing way possible. The sheer horror the creators manage to evoke in these videos is utterly indescribable; it really must be seen to be believed. Several entries left me feeling freaked-out and paranoid for days and cost me quite a bit of sleep. Special mention goes to Entry #19; I can't say much without spoiling it, but I can say without any hesitation that it is the scariest thing I have ever seen.

The story is excellent. It is a true mystery, and a very interesting and well-constructed one at that. While it can be a bit confusing, the confusion is just part of the journey, and each new revelaton clears up old questions only to raise new ones. Not only is it a perfect hook to keep viewers coming back for more, but it also results twisted, intricate plot that drags us into a world of dark forests and dimly lit corridors. Creepy, creepy stuff.

There is a bit of Fridge Logic that pops up here and there, but it's mostly attributable to our main character's Genre Blindness. Fortunately, it's as minimal as everything else in this series, save for the scares.

As a webseries, Marble Hornets is a remarkable success. As a horror webseries, Marble Hornets is the best in the genre this troper has yet seen.

An evening with Slendy: Watching the S1 DVD with friends

I started watching Marble Hornets midway through season 2 and fell in love with the story when it was halfway through, thus I was pleased to see the S1 DVD come out and was lucky to own one of the first thousand copies. Until a week or two ago, I had still not watched it in full in one sitting, and a friend who became interested in the mythos asked to watch it with me.

What was supposed to be three people watching in a dark room eventually grew to around ten, testament to the pull of this series. Despite the occasional snark (mostly at Jay's genre blindness), it was well-received and many wanted to see season 2 ASAP. I think that in itself is representative of MH's quality, that even those who don't know Slender Man enjoyed it so much.

What's it like watching S1 all in one sitting? A very enjoyable experience. Removing the wait makes things unfold in a rather beautiful form, in a slow burn that pulls you in with tantalizing glimpses of the Operator and an intricate plot that keeps the viewer guessing. Slotting in the totheark entries in chronological order makes the story easier to follow than trying to go between Youtube channels without a guide. However, there could have been some more exposition as to the fact that totheark was a separate channel, and that the ###### entry was posted on Jay's channel instead of totheark. This would be easily remedied for the inevitable S2 DVD. The video quality is poor at start, especially on a larger screen, but it improves as the creators get better cameras. The grainy quality actually increases the fear factor, to some extent, and there were times we were unsure if the distortion was added in or if something was wrong with the actual television. That fourth wall-breaking mindscrew enhanced the viewing experience, and I consider that a plus.

Naturally, mention must be made of the series' infamous jump scares. Sudden bursts of distortion alone made people flinch, and sudden appearances by Slendy and Masky drew screams more than once. The best one by far was the final video, where the Operator appears to Alex and Amy, and also makes an excellent hook to draw viewers into the following entries.

Long story short, the season itself is highly enjoyable, and the DVD is a good experience, especially to scare friends witless. They've even started using mythos terms in real life! Success!

Marble Hornets

Marble Hornets is a horror series on You Tube, based of The Slender Man Mythos. If you don't know who Slender Man is, be glad. The plot is simple: Alex was making his own film called Marble Hornets. But midway through shooting, he inexplicably stoped. He gave the tapes to his friend Jay and left the state. Three years later, Jay has decided to go through the tapes, with the promise of uploading anything interesting to You Tube. But instead of just raw footage from Marble Hornets, the tapes contain something far more terrifying, and soon Jay is dragged into the madness himself.

The series' style is done by first-person POV via a video camera, like Blair Witch or Cloverfield. (Don't know the techincal term for it. "Shaky-cam", I guess?). If that is usually a turnoff for you, don't let it be here, 'cause it works really well. It honestly appears some poor unfortunate soul uploaded this onto You Tube.

The first few entries set up the series. We meet our "star" right away, and the paranoia Alex is going through is shown. As the series progresses, we see the full extent of the danger Alex was facing. While continuing his investigation of what occured three years ago, Jay goes from being an observer to a full participant, culminating in what has to be some of the most terrifying videos ever. The second "season" recently started, and now Jay is facing a whole new set of problems, but as of Entry# 33, the events of the past are clearly not done with him.

The series' sheer amount of High Octane Nightmare Fuel originates from paranoia: The idea that what could be out there is more terrifying than what is right in front of you. Which in turn makes what you do see all the more terrifying, coupled with some very effective jump scares. This results in quite possibly the scariest thing I have ever seen (I'm still afraid to rewatch Entry #19). The acting is very minimal, which is good because it could have resulted in some serious Narm (though I felt Jessica's performance in Entry #32 to be very good). The special effects are used for Slender Man and the audio/visual distortions, and are both very effective.

Without a doubt one of most terrifying things I have ever encountered. Check it out for some sleepless nights.

Really shows what can be done with limited resources and the right amount of imagination.

When you say out loud what Marble Hornets fundamentally is - an internet-based horror story put together by a small group of teens with a camera and a very constrained budget - it sounds inevitably tacky and Nightmare Retardant. So far, however, the finished product has done an admirable job of avoiding this almost entirely.

The concept and backstory, as you've probably picked up, are very simple and tie into a popular internet legend - which is probably one of the best aspects of the series, as there would have been no realistic way for it to set up a complex backstory or lay out an intricate plot. What it does is take something we are already familiar with and, with the limited tools at its disposal, craft it into something sufficiently original that provides newfound chills, expanding upon the legend rather than simply recycling it, and doing so in a way that keeps us guessing and keeps us coming back for more, genuinley curious as to where things are heading.

The entries have been cleverly put together in a way that feels natural and realistic while requiring both minimal special effects and minimal acting from the cast - both of which, of course, would have posed the risk of rendering things Narmy if done wrong or in excess - yet at the same time still manage to be genuinley a way that, admirably, has as of yet taken no real refuge in 'jump out at you' shock scares, staying relatively faithful to the finer subtleties of the silent, unsettling, Nothing Is Scarier varieties of chills. Say what you will, it's not easy to make simply walking through a dark house with a camera as genuinely disquieting as Marble Hornets has - it takes effort.

Overall, if you're looking for a piece of Alternate Reality that manages to be both concise and naturalistically creepy, with sufficient freshness and tension to keep you coming back for more, then give Marble Hornets a look - effort like this deserves recognition.