Sony’s Slenderman movie, originally announced in May 2016, finally has a poster and trailer. And a title! It’s called Slender Man, a twist on Slenderman, and a teenager stabs herself in the eye with a scalpel in the clip above. My apologies if you already hit play.
The film is set for release this May, nearly four years after two incidents of preteens committing bizarre acts of violence and claiming that the famous creepypasta meme made them do it. In June 2014, two 12-year-old girls stabbed a close friend in a Wisconsin forest and left her for her dead, and a 13-year-old girl in Ohio attacked her mother with a knife. The incidents sparked conversation and controversy around the internet’s affects on still-developing brains and how it might warp reality, and stand as a watershed moment in internet culture history.
This isn’t the first attempt at adapting the bizarre phenomenon: HBO’s Beware the Slenderman, directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, debuted at SXSW in March 2015, and struggled to elucidate how a shapeshifting, digital monster can affect a young mind. SyFy’s Channel Zero creepypasta anthology series and NBC’s Law & Order: SVU both had episodes inspired by Slenderman — the latter airing a mere five months after the stabbings.
From the trailer, it looks like Stomp the Yard director Sylvain White plans to take the more traditional, low-budget horror route with this movie. There’s a lot of screaming, bugs crawling out of mouths, girls with dark hair, and dimly lit trees. The plot summary for the film is just “following recent disappearances, a group of girls venture into the cause of these incidents.” Slender Man stars Spanish actor Javier Botet (who recently played the leper iteration of It in Andy Muschietti’s It remake) as “The Slenderman,” as well as Paper Towns’ Jaz Sinclair, The Conjuring’s Joey King, The Affair’s Julia Goldani Telles, and Oculus’ Annalise Basso as the girls who go up against him.