Maybe you’ve heard of the Slender Man urban legend. If you’re young and hip, then you likely were familiarized with the fictional character through a creepypasta Internet meme created on the Something Awful forum by Eric Knudsen, or as he is also known, “Victor Surge”. Now if you’re older like me and don’t know what a creepypasta is then you likely saw Slender Man on your kid’s Minecraft world or heard about it in the news following the murder of a 12-year-old girl in Wisconsin.
Now the Internet Boogeyman is set to make his big screen debut this week. The film has been somewhat swept up with controversy. It certainly doesn’t appear that Slender Man is in any way related to the 2014 stabbing death of a 12-year-old girl by two friend who claimed to be controlled by the ‘Slender Man’. Nonetheless, the association most definitely stains the movie to some extent. Rotating release dates have also haunted the film.
What Is It About and When Is It Coming Out?
The available synopsis for Slender Man on its IMDb page is pretty sparse:
Slender Man tells the story of a tall, thin, horrifying figure with unnaturally long arms and a featureless face, who is reputed to be responsible for the haunting and disappearance of countless children and teens
We can probably expect the movie to be like a ‘great hits’ introduction to all of the digital legend’s major traits. The origins of the Slender Man myth are actually quite fascinating, particularly for anyone interested in urban legends. Almost a form of online folklore, the Slender Man is an unnaturally tall and thin entity, dressed in a suit and tie, with a long and narrow face that has no discernible features. Its arms are long and tentacle-like.
While the myth varies remarkably, The Slender Man is associated with the forest, or isolated areas, and seems to target children or young adults. In some stories, he can control and incite children to commit violent acts; other stories simply describe it as driving people mad. Somewhat similar to Bagul from the Sinister films, knowing about or investigating The Slender Man is bad.
Slender Man‘s release date has been bounced around a couple of times since the first trailer debuted back in early January. Initially scheduled for late May, Slender Man got dumped into the summer wasteland of late August. Its release date changed again recently. Now Slender Man looks like its being fed to The Meg, with an overlapping release date of August 10.
Who’s Making It?
Sylvain White is behind the camera for Slender Man. White has extensive experience with directing television; he’s helmed episodes of The Following, Empire, Scorpion, Sleepy Hollow, and Hawaii Five-O. Horror fans may balk when they learn White also directed the straight-to-video sequel, I’ll Always Know What you Did Last Summer. But White also directed the underrated The Losers and Stomp the Yard. Truth be told, the big question is just how much creative control White had in developing the creepypasta into a feature film. How much of Slender Man and its story, written by David Birke for the movie, will be pigeonholed into fan service?
Who’s In It?
Slender Man appears to have followed the casting playbook for cheaply made theatrical horror films. For the most part, the cast looks like a collection of young, attractive, interchangeable stars that may be vaguely recognizable from smaller projects. Joey King (Wish Upon), Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, and Annalise Bass (Ouija: Board of Evil) look to be playing the ‘meddling kids’ who poke their noses into the legend of Slender Man. Javier Botet plays the Slender Man. To date, Botet has built an impressive resume of onscreen monsters including the Hobo from It, The Crooked Man in The Conjuring 2, and Set in The Mummy.
What Do The Trailers Tell Us
Like most first trailer nowadays, the Slender Man trailer released earlier this year reveals very little about specific plot points or characters. Most of the trailer is rapidly edited imagery intended to establish the creepy tone for which the film is aiming. Many of these images are likely to remind audiences of The Ring.
Slender Man is perhaps wisely kept hidden for most of the first trailer. Bits of dialogue confirm that much of the urban legend will be intact for the film. Missing children, isolated forests, paranoid and nightmarish imagery, and the Slender Man’s violent influence all appear to have made the transition onto the big screen.
With its most recent trailer, Slender Man gives us a bit more of an idea of how the urban legend will play out in the movie. We get a little more story and character in this trailer. Slender Man will revolve around four young girls and best friends with one friend inexplicably gone missing. As the young ladies investigate their friend’s disappearance, they make the grave error of invoking the ‘Slender Man’.
Unlike the first trailer, we’re shown a lot more of the title villain in the additional footage from the second trailer. This trailer gives off the strong impression that Slender Man is firmly a PG-13 horror film, complete with a lot of loud noise and contorting characters, not unlike the recent Truth or Dare and Ouija: Origin of Evil. The question now after seeing this trailer is whether Slender Man will be more Truth or Dare or surprisingly effective like Ouija: Origin of Evil.
Is It Worth Seeing in Theaters
I’ll be curious to see if Slender Man is screened for critics before its Friday release. At this point, I imagine most horror fans starving for anything in movie theaters will get their fix from the much bigger – literally and figuratively – The Meg. If you had to choose between seeing either Slender Man or The Meg, I would opt for the more self-aware silly action of The Meg. Slender Man will likely be haunting VOD streaming services before you can say ‘Trick or Treat.’