'Slender Man' trailer brings the online meme to movie-screen life

Yahoo Movies
Image: Sony
Image: Sony

The Slender Man is an online myth that began as merely a series of doctored photographic images and then was developed through crowdsourcing fan-fiction means into a modern boogeyman. As such, he has no set background story, although in most iterations, the tall, gaunt specter — with no face and excessively long limbs and always dressed in a black suit — preys on youngsters, whom he often lures back to his mysterious abode. Depending on the source, he’s either a protector of the lost and lonely or a child-consuming monster. And his lure with adolescents has been so strong that he’s even infiltrated the game Minecraft (where the “Enderman” stalks players). More disturbingly, the character inspired two 13-year-old girls, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, to try to kill their friend Payton “Bella” Leutner in 2014 because, they claimed, it was their means of getting in good with the Slender Man. Whom, it was clear, they believed was real. (Both have pleaded guilty; Weier was sentenced in December to 25 years in a mental institution, while Geyser will be sentenced in February.)

With that sort of history, much of it detailed in last year’s chilling HBO documentary Beware the Slenderman, it was only a matter of time before the character made his way to multiplex screens. That time is this May, when Sony Pictures will debut Slender Man, a horror film directed by Stomp the Yard’s Sylvain White. Its initial trailer (below) is light on plot, instead focusing on a series of scary images involving child abductions, self-mutilation, and maggots. While it doesn’t present more than a couple of fleeting glimpses of its villainous subject, it does indicate that he’ll be lurking in the woods (as legend often has it) and that he’ll be getting inside teenagers’ heads, the better to have them do awful things to themselves.

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Given that the Slender Man is more of a creepy visual presence than an actual three-dimensional fiend, we’ll see if Slender Man can buck teen-horror-movie conventions to deliver something more ominously out-there.

Slender Man stalks into theaters May 18.

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