Slender Man is a character that was originally created by an internet user named Eric Knudsen as a “creepy pasta” in 2009.
Since then, the source material has spawned numerous online spinoffs and sequels, and has inspired tons of fan art, so it was only a matter of time before Slender Man made a big-screen debut.
The movie officially opens Friday, August 10, and will be distributed by Sony Pictures. Today, according to Rotten Tomatoes, reviews are already trickling out for the new horror film and they’re decidedly not good.
Currently, Slender Man sits at an abysmal 18 percent critical score, but that could go up or down as reviews for the movie continue to drop over the next few days.
Glenn Kenny of the New York Times felt the movie was so terrible, it wasn’t even worth making fun of. He referenced a real-life attempted murder case inspired by the creepy pasta while reviewing the movie, taking the writer to task, along with Slender Man’s director.
“That the director Sylvain White and the writer David Birke felt justified in moving ahead with this project anyway says pretty much what you think it does about ambition in Hollywood. (And this isn’t even the first movie inspired by the character!) But as it happens, they’ve wound up concocting the most perfunctory horror picture I’ve seen in some time. It’s not even worth making a ‘thin gruel’ joke about.”
Slender Man opens alongside The Meg, which is currently garnering more mixed reviews, and on the same weekend as the Oscar-buzz-generating Spike Lee movie, BlacKkKlansman, which currently touts an impressive critical score of 98 percent.
Slender Man is being released during a time where horror movies are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Horror movies like Stephen King’s It and A Quiet Place are pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.
Back in May of 2014, two 12-year-old girls by the names of Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier stabbed their friend Payton Leutner in the woods 19 times in an attempted murder. Leutner was also 12 at the time of the stabbing.
The girls stated they were doing so to appease the fictional character known as Slender Man. Since the release of the film was announced, it has been met with outcries of being in poor taste and of attempting to capitalize on real-life violence and mental illness.
Geisler and Weir were found “not guilty by reason of insanity” but were still sentenced to extremely long periods under close psychiatric care in a mental institution.