Irene Taylor Brodsky's Beware the Slenderman is a muddled, but still rather unnerving HBO documentary from 2015 (which I saw out of SXSW). In it, Brodsky documents the 2014 incident where two twelve-year-old girls took a close friend into a Wisconsin forest and stabbed her, shortly before a thirteen-year-old girl in Ohio attacked her mother with a knife.
The creature who commanded these girls' human sacrifices was the Slenderman – a lanky, blank-faced, black-suited apparition – that developed a reputation through the online creepypasta meme factory. This digital urban folklore is explored in depth by Brodsky, whose film attempts to investigate how it potentially warps the young minds who consume it.
Now, Slenderman is being interpreted into Slender Man - a new, shadowy horror film from director Sylvain White (The Losers), which looks like the "Blumhouse" take on these types of mythoi. Check it out:
You can really feel Sony leaning into that IT marketing here, focusing on a tale of missing children and demonic possession, conveyed through dark, familiar photography. "People don't just disappear," someone whispers. OK, I get it.
While this movie will undoubtedly be viewed by most of the staff here at BMD, it's hard not to wonder why a filmmaker wouldn't see this material and take it down a more disturbing, visceral Candyman route, instead of crafting what looks to be a pedestrian post-aughts ghost story. Who knows? Maybe there will be elements of that classic to be discovered when the movie drops into theaters May 18th.