While some people were thrilled to see the internet horror story come to life, not everyone was pleased to see Slender Man hit the silver screen. Some believed the meme, called a “creepypasta,” was worn-out and tired, while others thought that the movie was trying to ride on the coattails of a terrible tragedy.
In 2014, two 12-year-old girls lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times. They said they were doing it to impress Slenderman, a fictional character they discovered on the web and believed to be real. The victim, Payton Leutner, survived but the other two girls stood trial for the crime and put in mental health institutions.
According to USA Today, the families of these children reportedly had a beef with the movie, with one father calling it “distasteful.”
This caused Sony to back down and take a pair of scissors to the movie. Several major scenes were cut, which didn’t help the film’s flow and scare factor.
When the film did come out last weekend, the results were disappointing yet unsurprising. All of the cuts and backlash summed up to a lackluster, unfinished film. In fact, several promised scenes weren’t even included. According to BloodyDisgusting, two scenes from the trailer were cut entirely.
Compared to the original Slenderman mythos, the box-office splat didn’t quite live up to its legendary namesake.
First appearing in 2009 on an online forum called Something Awful, the creepy creation quickly gained traction and became an online phenomenon. People created lore for the terrifying figure, and Slenderman took the internet community by storm. It even spawned a highly successful YouTube web series called Marble Hornets.
However, that was nearly a decade ago, and his popularity has long fizzled out. With the Slenderman Stabbing looming over the character, it’s surprising Sony tried to make a movie at all. Between trying to capitalize off a dead meme, profiting off a real-life crime, and cutting their content to bits, this film was doomed to fail.
This isn’t the first horror movie to try and make money off a tired concept. The Saw series, the Paranormal Activity sequels, and Blair Witch (2016) all tried to do the same thing, among others. All in all, Slender Man is just another example of when producers try to beat a dead horse.