The father of a young girl who participated in a brutal attack inspired by the popular “creepypasta” character Slender Man is calling Sony Pictures’ hyper-fictionalized re-telling of those events “distasteful” in the wake of the studio dropping its first trailer. The film, which is clearly intended for adult audiences and seems to take its morbid cues from The Ring, is slated for release later this year.
It’s not hard to see why Bill Weier would be upset with the decision to make a horror film based loosely on the so-called Slender Man stabbing. When his daughter, Anissa Weier, was 12, she helped lure a young friend named Bella into the woods in Waukesha, Wisconsin to be stabbed by their classmate Morgan Geyser as tribute to the Slender Man, a tall, long-limbed creature with a penchant for child-snatching that they had read about on the internet and become obsessed with. Weier would ultimately plead guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree homicide while also claiming insanity. Geyser would reach a plea deal and be committed to a mental hospital. Their victim, fortunately, would survive despite severe wounds.
The myth of Slender Man (also known as Slenderman) was created out of whole clothe in 2009 by Eric Knudson, who doctored an unnerving, spectral presence into photos of children playing. The character became a meme, inspiring fan fiction often presented as eyewitness accounts. The many-tendrilled Slender Man mythos inspired Anissa Weier and Geyser to try and ‘protect’ their families and become Slenderman’s servants by sacrificing Leutner, who was found bloodied by the side of the road.
It’s not clear how much the movie will attempt to dive into the actual nature of the stabbing. Based on the trailer, the film will be more concerned with the hyperbolized question “What if Slenderman was real?” than it will be an accurate retelling of events. Still, for those who live in Waukesha, Slender Man will strike close to home.