Slender Man, Part Two: The Movie
Again, I’d like to remind people that what follows is strictly my opinion. I have no financial interest in whether or not the movie succeeds or fails.
When I first heard that they were coming out with a Slender Man movie I was excited. It was the first that actually looked like it had a budget and some decent acting behind it. There have been quite a few knock-offs that haven’t come close to being much more than an excuse for found footage laziness. I’ll be talking about one of the few exceptions, Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story, a little later.
So What’s My Problem with the Movie?
I read the synopsis and started to get a bad feeling about it. I watched the trailer and that bad feeling gave way to disgust. It seemed to be taking its plot from a very real tragedy that began in 2014 and finally closed recently. I have no desire to go into the details of it. I do have very definite opinions on it but I’m here to talk about the movie.
I find the timing of the release of the movie to be at minimum in bad taste and at worst preying on the notoriety of the case. I might not have thought this if the plot didn’t bear a suspicious resemblance to the actual events. There have been other movies so why does this one bother me so much? The Always Watching: A Marble Hornets movie was almost cancelled because of the incident but decided to go forward. So why no public outcry about that movie? I believe it’s because none of the plots of the previously mentioned movies even remotely resemble the case. The new movie Slender Man, does. A few of the scenes in the trailer, in my opinion, seemed to exploit it. Whether by design or not is beside the point.
The movie has nothing worthwhile to say on the subject. It’s nothing but your typical horror movie, designed to be brainless junk food designed to cater to the teenage market. A mix of Slenderman with elements of Americanized J-Horror. Perhaps that’s what strikes me as predatory. Film School Rejects has some interesting things to say about the movie but I don’t think they hit the nail quite on the head. The thrust of their argument is that the movie should look more closely into cartoon characters being used for malign purposes. Much like the Joe Camel argument in the nineties. However, Slenderman was never created with that intention. It was created as a scary story and that’s all. A modern urban legend never meant to be taken as ‘fact’ or reality.
So Why Is This the Last On-Site Mention of the Movie?
This is why we will not be promoting the movie on our site. It would be some easy views and clicks but if we did we would have to class ourselves in with those that are trying to get recognition from the same source. And I think I can speak for Lilyn as well as myself when I say we’d rather have no views than those gained on the tail end of a tragic circumstance that, for the peace of all involved, especially the victim and her family, should be dropped.
This might seem contradictory with the first part of this post outlining the Slenderman mythos in some detail but I believed it was necessary to explain a bit on why the movie offended me. Which isn’t a word that I use very often. I also believe there’s an important divide between talking about the Slenderman mythos and the Slender Man movie. Slenderman is fiction. If you want one of the few opinions on the case that I feel comfortable sharing it is this: If those girls had not fixated on that story it would have been any other. And would it have made such an impression if Slenderman were not a product of the horror community?
Horror – Reality and Fiction
The creepypasta community as a whole roundly condemned these acts. It’s there for the sharing of scary stories. It has become the new campfire where stories are told as though they are real but with the basic understanding that they are not. Pointing to one character (game, book, movie, etc.) is overly simplistic and ignores the larger problems. The internet is not a baby-sitter. Parents need to be more aware of what their kids are doing online (and in real life). There are dangerous areas on the internet. A site meant for the sharing of spooky stories and getting feedback on your writing ability is not one of them.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, no pat solution. This is a question that goes back to the advent of literature itself. The Sentimental and Gothic novels were criticized as being ‘immoral’ and too apt to dwell on improper topics and sensations. In the early eighties the bogeyman was Dungeons & Dragons. No media form has been exempt from it. Stephen King, horror novels, horror movies and heavy metal have all had their day in the court of public opinion (and some quite literally in court). Video games are still brought up from time to time. Oddly enough, it’s action games that bear the brunt in that area rather than horror. Pointing a finger at Slenderman and his creator is the same as pointing a finger at the horror writing community in general.
Keeping Slenderman, the idea and internet creation is important to keep separate from the movie. I must admit. I do hope Slenderman does regain some ground. It’s an interesting story that does not deserve to be the absolution and excuse for the actions of two girls. It is also contained to the internet. easily avoidable unless you go looking for him. The movie is the opposite. It will be promoted everywhere and does nothing but serve to open those same wounds. Whatever you think of the perpetrators (and I have definite thoughts) at least some consideration for the victim should be shown. Let the poor girl mend in peace, body and mind. It won’t be an easy process for her but I’m sure the movie splashing it everywhere can only hurt in the long run.