How Slender Man Failed To Become The Horror Icon For A New Generation

August 15, 2018 6:00 AM ‐ ParanormalHorror Movies

It's amazing it's taken this long for a movie about the sinister character known as Slender Man to be made. The faceless, suited supernatural character first appeared on the internet in 2009. After countless memes and fan-made movies, Slender Man finally comes to cinemas this month.

Slender Man first appeared on the Something Awful forums in a series of photographs edited to depict a tall, humanoid entity unnoticed by other people in the image but almost always surrounded by, or in close proximity to, children.

Since then, a story of the mysterious character has been back-written and his myth has been worked into folk tales and ghost stories, some claiming to date back hundreds of years ago, the earliest being a reference to Der Großmann in a German folk story written in 1702.

The new supernatural horror film based on the legend of this creepy creature is directed by Sylvain White, written by David Birke and comes to cinemas in the UK of August 24. Spanish actor, Javier Botet, plays the role of Slender Man, a role not too dissimilar to a previous appearance of his as the Crooked Man in 'The Conjuring 2'.

The film also stars Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, and Annalise Basso and follows the story of four friends who summon the Slender Man after hearing some of the boys from school were going to attempt to do so. A week later, one of them disappears and the other three girls go to her house to look for clues. The three discover that she had been involved in the occult, and that she wanted to be taken by the Slender Man. The three girls decide to make contact with the creature, in the hopes that they can get their friend back.

Two of the girls in the movie share their surname with the creatures original creator, Eric Knudsen, AKA Victor Surge, who came up with Slender Man as part of a Photoshop competition. 

It seems that during post-production of the movie the studio, Sony, got nervous about the release of the film due to an ongoing court case relating to the supernatural mythical character.

Sadly in 2014, two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin stabbed their classmate. During questioning, the authorities found that the girls worshipped Slender Man and believed he is real and wanted them to commit a murder as a first step to becoming proxies for him. They also reportedly stated that they were afraid that Slender Man would kill their families if they did not commit the murder.

Luckily, the victim of the attack survived, after being helped by a passing cyclist. The father of the victim has spoken out against the film, saying how his family feel its disgraceful that Hollywood has made a movie about events that led to the tragedy. Some cinemas in Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties in Wisconsin have refused to show the movie out of consideration and respect for those impacted by the real-life events.

Because of these events, Sony decided upon a lowkey released of the film with very little promotional materials, they also didn't screen the movie for critics in advance. Although given the overwhelmingly negative response to the movie since its US cinema debut, they might have simply decided to cut their losses, expecting a flop.

The full story of the real-life incident is told in the HBO documentary, 'Beware The Slenderman'. It is available to watch on Netflix in the UK and could be a better option than the 'Slender Man' movie given its terrible reviews from critics and audiences alike, who described it as "boring" and "derivative". To date, 1,348 IMDb users have given the movie an average rating of 3.1 out of ten.

One reviewer wrote, "I feel lied to, the trailer was misleading. Just read the creepypasta and play the game, but do not watch the movie. I want my time, money and my idea of scary Slender Man back."

Most who have seen the film agree that their are issues with character development, a sub-par script and a lack of depth in the storytelling, but one big problem seems to arise from the fact that Slender Man is a very one dimensional character who is much more spooky in photos and stories than when portrayed in a movie.

Much like the Blair Witch, Slender Man has always been scarier as an idea. As horror writer H.P. Lovecraft said, "the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown," and the Slender Man was an unknown when he was simply an internet myth. Now personified on film, he has lost what it was that made him so terrifying. In horror, less is more, a tactic which made the original Blair Witch movie a phenomenon, but when this approach was ignored for the 2016 remake, it just delivered an average horror movie.

Slender Man had the potential to become the next big horror icon, the Freddy Krueger of a new generation, but the film failed to deliver, especially with the likes of 'The Conjuring' and 'Insidious' franchises dominating the paranormal horror genre.

However, the movie was aimed at the teenage market that consume creepypasta online, hence its PG-13 rating. Movie insiders have claimed that pivotal scenes from the film were cut just days before its cinema release, including some of the scenes that were teased in the first trailer. It's for this reason that audience members felt the trailer had lied to and mislead them.

Perhaps Sony will be braver when it comes to the home release of the movie and will release the complete, uncut version, complete with one of the characters stabbing her eyes out and another ripping her tongue out after encountering Slender Man in the woods.

Although the film has had bad reviews, others have said that it should be taken with a pinch of salt and that, although not great, it's not a bad watch. So, as always it might be best to make your own mind up when the film is released in UK cinemas on August 24, 2018.
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