The trailer for this year’s film hit yesterday. And it’s already ruffling feathers.
Releasing May 18, director Sylvain White’s Slender Man is the first big horror movie centered on the titular internet phenomenon, created in 2009 as a Creepypasta meme. Depicted as “a thin, unnaturally tall man with a featureless head and face, wearing a black suit,” Slender Man is said to stalk, abduct and kill children.
The fictional character made headlines in 2014 when a 12-year-old Wisconsin girl was repeatedly stabbed by two other 12-year-old girls, both of whom claimed that Slender Man made them do it; Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser stabbed Payton Leutner 19 times, nearly killing her.
So then, is the Screen Gems film based on the 2009 Creepypasta or more directly inspired by that 2014 stabbing? Bill Weier, the father of attacker Anissa Weier, feels that the film is exploiting the 2014 tragedy, and he’s hoping theaters will make the decision to not play it.
“It’s absurd they want to make a movie like this,” the concerned father told the Associated Press this week. “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.”
Of course, it’s impossible to know at this point whether the film sticks closer to the original Creepypasta or the tragic real-life story from 2014, but the fact remains that the Slender Man came around five years before Payton Leutner was attacked. So is the film truly exploiting a tragedy, or merely bringing a popular internet meme to life?
We’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to sound off below.