Plot: A character created as part of a Photoshop competition on an internet message board, Slenderman has become an icon in online horror and branched out into games, books, and even movies. But the fictional Slenderman became part of an all too real tragic turn of events when two young girls tried to kill their friend, as a tribute to the eerie character. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier believed Slenderman was very real and in an effort to win his affection, as well as be taken to his mansion to live, the girls concocted a plot to prove themselves. In Beware the Slenderman, we’re taken inside the case and the lives of these two girls, while also getting a look at Slenderman’s creation and evolution.
Entertainment Value: Although this case wasn’t given a lot of mainstream news coverage, it was a hot topic on the internet and that makes sense, given that the Slenderman phenomenon was birthed online. This piece examines both the case and Slenderman in good detail, but if you want an in depth, exhaustive look at either topic, you might be a little let down. But when you divide focus that is bound to happen and I think Beware the Slenderman juggles the subjects well and imparts a good amount of information about both. The case is explored through interviews with various experts, courtroom footage, and interviews with the families of the accused girls, which leads to home movies, photos, and such. This approach is very person and lets us get to know the girls as they were before the attack, while police interviews with the girls reveal more about how they viewed Slenderman. When combined, these offer a rock solid look inside the case and I think true crime fans will appreciate how personal the profiles on the accused girls are, to help us understand their mental states.
As for Slenderman, the documentary traces the character back to its origin and then follows the rise in popularity. The process of how the lore was built around the character is interesting, as is the wealth of fan created art, from sketches to videos to doctored photos. The flood of “real Slenderman sighting” videos was massive at one point and this movie covers that with a few prominent examples, so it makes it easier to see how susceptible young viewers might have bought into the premise. Some experts also discuss online lore and how the girls might have avoided how things turned out, so there’s again a good amount of insight here. As I said, the divided focus does mean neither side of the story is explored in depth, but I think a solid balance is found and both true crime and creepypasta fans should appreciate this one.