2017 proved what we already knew: horror crushes at the box office. Still, a lot of the genre’s theatrical releases are awful; I mean, if it’s guaranteed to haul in money no matter what, why expend energy and resources making it good?
The long-time-coming feature film about Slenderman — a fictional child-snatching boogeyman who rose to prominence via intenet-age urban legend site creepypasta — looks to be as generic as it gets. With The Ring-like black-and-white footage, a muted color palette, and, like, random tentacles coming out of people’s mouths — the official Slender Man trailer makes it look like every other too-loud bargain-bin supernatural horror flick from the last decade or so.
For additional proof that the real world is consistently more disturbing than fiction, you should probably watch _beware the slenderman, an HBO Films-affiliated documentary from 2016. It tells the 100% true story of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls who stabbed their classmate and claimed Slenderman made them do it, interpolating found-footage from YouTube videos and online games. It’s quietly terrifying, just like the original web stories always portrayed Slenderman to be. (Some Milwaukee movie theaters have already said they won’t be playing the new fictional movie, noting that it “hits too close to home.”)
Whether or not you agree it’s insensitive to the real-life tragedy, the movie, a Sony production, looks like literal garbage. As proven by recent box-office hits like Get Out, It, and even the surprisingly fun date-night slasher Happy Death Day — we can do a lot better.
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