I did not hear about Slenderman (or Slender Man or Slender-Man) until last year when my friends Catherine and Christian brought up the video game. “He’s a guy with long arms and no face who kidnaps kids” was essentially the only information I had, but obviously I checked around the net and found that he was quite a popular/hated urban legend.
So far so Bogeyman/Monster In The Closet, but this interesting and at times very chilling film shows the story taking a deadly turn when two young American girls attempt to kill their friend in order to appease the creature and gain access to his mansion deep in the woods.
Beware The Slenderman succeeds because it does not make fun of the girls for believing in this thing, even though the film can pinpoint when and where the creature was first written about – it nods to Santa and the Tooth Fairy as other examples of reality meeting fantasy and there is a very strong image when the camera soars over a church and you realise that people are killed all over the world EVERY DAY for such a mythical creature, even if JC does not have long tentacle arms and infect the dreams of those he chooses.
The film does not preach, there are moments where the girls’ parents are discussing their daughters love of their iPads and the ghoulish things they like to look at, but they just saw this, as you should, as normal, unaware that their daughters were planning an attack. The strange thing about the crime is that it was against the only other girl wo played with these two – you would imagine that they would take revenge over those at school who called them odd or wierd, but instead it is their long time friend who gets a plethora of stab wounds. She lives though, but goodness knows how her mind works now after this hideous incident.
As well as looking at the legend and the families, this is also a courtroom drama, as a judge has to decide whether they will be tried as adults – facing 65 years in the pen, or get seen as juveniles, at which point they would be free by 18. Was this a childish prank gone wrong? A kids’ game gone awry? Or a pre-determined attack by two evil youngsters now looking for a scapegoat? The film asks as many questions as it answers and by featuring exclusive access to police files, the interviews with the girls are chilling one minute and crushing the next. Whether you agree with the eventual decision, there is no real end here as the case comes to court in 2017, but this is a great telling of the case so far and will have you checking your closet tonight.