BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN (2016)
Interesting, but not totally successful, HBO documentary focuses on the alleged 2014 stabbing of young Payton Leutner by her two 12 year-old (at the time) friends Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier. The strange motivation for the attempted murder was to please a fictional internet boogeyman known as The Slenderman. The documentary traces the horrid events back to the two girls’ delusional belief that they could appease this urban legend through the killing of another. The documentary also traces Slenderman’s origins to the CreepyPasta website where the two girls discovered it and interviews with their befuddled parents and so-called “experts” as to how they (and apparently many other youths) came to believe this tale was real.
Documentary is directed well by Irene Taylor Brodsky and while it certainly is interesting, it never quite as chilling as it should be considering the subject matter. We do get a picture of two girls who are delusional to the point of plotting and planning the murder of a friend to appease an internet urban legend that sprang from a photoshop contest. It does fill us uninitiated in on how this fictional phantom came to be and only stumbles on it’s not too successful attempt to explain why so many youths have come to believe that it actually exists…especially to the point of murder. The ‘experts’ the documentary interviews on that aspect of the subject don’t impress or really have a solid explanation as why this made-up specter has so many believing it’s real. We also never really get a clear picture as to why these two girls were so delusional and infatuated with this internet grown tale. As a viewer, I never got a feel for what the big deal about Slenderman is and therefor don’t understand what the fuss was about and why two young girls would try to kill over what is clearly a made up story…and to truly succeed, this documentary needed to to that.