Make a film about a subject with any kind of controversy surrounding it and this is what you’re going to get—a bunch of pissed-off folks, and a petition for them to rally behind.
That’s what Sony is now facing in regards to its upcoming May release of Slender Man, a horror film inspired by the fictional online character that was birthed via the internet urban legends known as creepypastas. A first trailer for Slender Man just hit the web this week, which you can view here.
Some, however, are anything but excited about the prospect of the film. Citing the real-life case in 2014 where two 12-year-olds in Wisconsin nearly fatally stabbed a classmate while attempting to appease the nonexistent character, a new petition is claiming that the Slender Man film is trying to capitalize on real-world tragedy, and it’s already garnered more than 4,000 signatures. Moreover, the father of one of the attackers in the incident seems to be among those who is displeased, making the following comments to USA Today:
“It’s absurd they want to make a movie like this. It’s popularizing a tragedy is what it’s doing. I’m not surprised but in my opinion it’s extremely distasteful. All we’re doing is extending the pain all three of these families have gone through.”
With that said, the petition and movement are not exactly giving the film an accurate description in our eyes. The petition claims the film is “based off a 2014 incident in which two 12-year-old girls stabbed their friend,” but the actual events of the film don’t appear to have anything to do with said incident. It seems clear that the filmed version of Slender Man is based on the initial creepypasta stories and the internet fame of the character itself—which, admittedly, received much more exposure after the stabbing. But it seems like a reach to use to imply that the film is specifically trying to profit from recreating the incident in question—especially considering that it depicts Slender Man as a real-life monster.
Might we suggest that ultimately, Slender Man is much more likely to simply be remembered as a subpar, PG-13 modern horror movie?