Beware the Slenderman
In this horrifyingly modern fairytale lurks an online Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. The entrance to the internet quickly leads to its darkest basement. How responsible are our children for what they find there?
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★★★½ review by rachel remeny on Letterboxd
not to brag, but on my old youtube channel that i don't use anymore i have a video, from october 12th, 2013 when i was 12 years old, titled "I FINALLY BEAT SLENDERMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" where i played and defeated the mobile slenderman game. it has 49 views and 2 comments, so you could say slenderman helped make my 12 year old self make it "big" on youtube. thank you slenderman
★★★½ review by Scumbalina on Letterboxd
I saw part of this on a plane earlier this year and only recently had the opportunity to finish it. Slenderman quickly became modern folklore and the fact that it inspired a crime like this just makes it seem even more unreal. It seems scripted like the plot of a Slenderman fan film or a depressing remake of Heavenly Creatures. This being real life is kind of mind blowing. The incident itself, not just this movie. The movie takes us through it very slowly, painfully. I enjoyed having insight into this crazy tragedy but I'm ready to go back to watching films about the fictional Slenderman
★★★★½ review by Jason Alley on Letterboxd
A deeply troubling, disturbing, and unbearably sad documentary about the two 12-year-old girls who attempted to murder another little girl in the Wisconsin woods in 2014, as an offering to Slenderman. For those who don't know, Slenderman is an internet-born modern-day boogeyman who began life as a Photoshop gag, popping up eerily in the backgrounds of photos, and through the suggestive strength of the internet and the imaginations of children, morphed into something very "real."
This HBO documentary explores both the murder case and the Slenderman phenomenon itself, in detail. It's tough to watch at times, but fascinating and very worthwhile.
★★★★ review by Russell Holley on Letterboxd
The time spent with the dismayed parents of the girls involved makes this well-rounded combination of a true-crime story and an analysis of an internet folktale, a real riveting watch.
★★★½ review by Carol Grant on Letterboxd
I put this on because I, too, was a teenager on the internet with a fascination with Slenderman and that entire mythos.
Turns out, this doc kinda sucks as an examination of the effect of internet myths and memes, featuring interviews with lame adults attempting to "explain" the Slenderman's strange power in a Vox-splainer kind of style and absolutely none of them properly convey what makes it a resonant image (apart from the thuddingly obvious). Just lame adults who don't get what the kids are into these days--and yes, one of them is Richard Dawkins (ugh).
Thankfully, that's not the documentary's primary interest. When it focuses on the families of each of the girls who committed the stabbing, it's harrowing and sad and even heartbreaking. Brodsky knows exactly how to lens the minutiae of everyday life as these parents cope with the insurmountable trauma of knowing what their child was capable of. The effects of internet memes on impressionable young minds are obvious, but the damage it can inflict on ordinary people has rarely been so devastatingly documented.
The final few shots of this are genuinely pretty haunting.
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