Review – Beware the Slenderman

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by Nile Fortner

So I’m going to get into this review right here. A review of the HBO documentary Beware the Slenderman. Now if you’re like me asking yourself, “Slenderman? Who the hell is Slenderman?” Honestly, I never heard of Slenderman until the two 12-year-old girls murdered their friend as a sacrifice to Slenderman. I remember when someone first told me about Slenderman, and I honestly thought it was a new rapper or trap dance hitting the music scene. Really, I thought someone named Slenderman was dropping an album next week.  I’ve always been a fan of HBO documentaries. Spike Lee’s 4 Little Girls is one of my all time favorite HBO documentaries, and just one of my favorite documentaries in general. However, lately it seems like HBO is creating some damn fine documentaries. HBO’s Beware the Slenderman is about how an urban myth played a role in two girls murdering one of their classmates, one of their friends, and it looks like HBO has delivered another damn fine documentary.

For those who do not know about the myth or murder I’ll drop some quick facts for yah. Slenderman is a tall creepy white guy in a suit…wait, that didn’t come out right. No Slenderman isn’t Christopher Lee! Slenderman is a supernatural myth that originated from a horror website creepypasta wiki in 2009. He is very tall, thin, has long arms, has a white featureless face, wears a black suit, and has thick black tentacles that come from behind his back. Stories revolve around Slender as someone who abducts, stalks, and traumatizes children. So he is simply the modern day Boogeyman. On May 31, 2014, two 12-year-old girls stabbed a classmate 19 times in the woods after seeing the viral boogeyman Slenderman. The two girls claim they saw Slenderman in their dreams, and how they had to sacrifice someone in Slenderman’s name. It puzzled people how to very young girls could be so rigid. How they could not separate reality from fantasy, and how these two young girls could murder one of their classmates and friend in a cold-blooded manner. In this documentary, director Irene Taylor Brodsky (The Final Inch, Hear and Now) untangles the story of Slenderman and these girls that led to a brutal attack.

This documentary is a great investigation. We see interviews, video clips, photos, and so many more key facts that help the story. The filmmakers go as far as to film, investigate, interview, over the course of 18 months in Wisconsin. This documentary isn’t holding anything back when it comes to showing the audience everything you should know about this story. Journalist spend countless time talking to the lawyers, police, detectives, people on social media, psychologist, the parents of the girls, and more all to peel back the layers and truly see this story. If you’re coming in here thinking you’re just going to just get a cool and creepy documentary about Slenderman, I have to tell you that is not the case. Yes, you do learn about Slenderman, but you learn so much more. For instance, you learn about other myths, the source material, the affects social media may have on kids, parents and observing your kids browsing history, and mental health.

Now when I was growing up, I was afraid of things that are more realistic. A math test, talking to a pretty girl, cocoa roaches, Mr. Slippyfist from South Park, and Shia Labeouf. I actually went into this documentary saying, “The kids are obviously crazy! Lock ‘em up and throw away the keys!” However, the documentary does an amazing job of creating sympathy for the girls who committed the crime. I felt like the director mainly did that so we see things from their point of view. The parents do not come off like clueless parents who weren’t there for their kids. The parents come off as loving, caring, and a positive part of the kids lives.

The documentary does an interesting job on creating the belief that maybe these girls didn’t have too many friends, and that they actually saw or believed Slender was some sort of savior for them. Even though they showed a picture of the three girls together. I remember being 12-years-old and I didn’t have three friends. Sh*t, I don’t think I have three friends now! Ha-ha, just kidding.  But the documentary provides an example of how the Slenderman is somewhat similar to The Pied Piper of Hamelin. They both start off wanting to help, but later it is they adults that can’t help them, so they possible terrorize the kids.

So overall, this documentary is so much more than about Slenderman. It is about the myth, childhood schizophrenia, mental health, kids being tried as adults in court, and the dark corners our kids have access to when it comes to the internet. The director really went all out to show the viewers as much as possible. We get interrogations, interviews, video clips, and pictures. We hear and see things from the victim’s point of view, but also the perpetrators points. It is a damn fine documentary. I believe HBO’s Beware the Slenderman earns…

5 out of 5 Hairpieces!

I know I could get into more detail about this. On the other hand, I don’t want to give too much away. I encourage you all to see this documentary. Thank you all for reading, or viewing, and I hope you all have an amazing day as always. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to preorder Slenderman’s new album. 🙂

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