The most famous creepypasta meme ever comes to life in the first trailer for Sylvain White’s horror film Slender Man, out May 18. In case you somehow missed the rise of the legend created by Eric Knudsen on the Something Awful forums in 2009, Slender Man, aka Slenderman, is typically portrayed as a tall, faceless, pale man in a suit who stalks children. Over the years, the character spread and became something of a collective internet phenomenon before entering the mainstream in 2014, when two preteen girls in Wisconsin stabbed a friend and attributed the attack to the creature.
It was only a matter of time until someone brought Slender Man to the big screen. We don’t get to see much of the mythical monster in the trailer, because that would defeat the point of the character, but the trailer does allude to some mysterious disappearances and seemingly unexplained violence in a small community, including a girl who stabs herself in the face—no doubt due to the “sickness,” the effect that Slender Man supposedly has on those who encounter him. Javier Botet, a very slender man indeed, plays the titular monster.
Unfortunately, from the looks of the trailer, director White is turning the myth into a much more traditional horror movie, with plenty of shots of wriggling bugs and some body horror for good measure. That’s all very well, but it’s not what makes Slender Man so unsettling, and I hope the film takes a more psychological approach than what we see here. That’s what worked for Slender: The Eight Pages, the Slender Man–starring computer game from 2012 that is at once very simple and completely, utterly terrifying.
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