Here’s a PSA: If you’re interested in seeing a form of media that adapts the form of shared internet horror fiction known as “creepypastas,” you should check out Channel Zero on SyFy. There you’ll at least find a creative team trying to not just cash in on a piece of internet pop culture, but tell an interesting story, with varied success. But at the very least, you’ll be doing better than the Slender Man film adaptation appears to be.
That’s the trailer we find ourselves with above, which adapts the Slender Man/”slenderman” creepypasta first generated on the Something Awful forums back in 2009. As the story goes, Slender Man is a supernatural or metaphysical entity that lives on the edge of human consciousness, sometimes appearing to those who are alone or lost in order to terrify, abduct or kill them. In particular, stories about the monster insist that it tends to target children.
Infamously, this latter premonition came true in a certain sense back in 2014, when two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls attempted to stab a friend to death in an effort to appease the fictional character. The attempted murder (the victim barely survived) made national headlines for its bizarre story, depravity and the odd motivation of being based around an internet urban legend, which only boosted the profile and notoriety of the Slender Man meme. One has to think this is probably the moment when some enterprising screenwriter thought he might be able to cash in on the phenomenon as well.
As for the trailer, it can’t quite summon up the same creepiness as the real-life events, although it’s not for a lack of trying. This first look at Slender Man feels rather cobbled together from a million other horror films, replete with contextless shots of writhing maggots and body horror elements. There also seems to be a twist of the mid-2000s American trend of J-horror remakes such as The Ring and The Grudge, which you can see in shots of the girls with long, tangled black hair or the greenish-blue color palette.
Time will tell if Slender Man will resonate with its target audience, but we think it’s probably safe to say that this isn’t going to be another It. The film is scheduled for release on May 18, 2018, by Screen Gems.