(US - 2017)
Directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky. (Unrated, 115 mins)
Hobbled by leaden pacing and an unfocused narrative, BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN isn't exactly the second coming of PARADISE LOST as far as documentaries about arrested teens and moral panics go. Irene Taylor Brodsky's film looks at the circumstances surrounding the attempted murder of 12-year-old Payton "Bella" Leutner, a Waukesha, WI girl who was lured into the woods on May 31, 2014 by two friends--Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, also 12 at the time--and stabbed 19 times. The reason? Morgan and Anissa wanted to impress the Slenderman, a fictional supernatural figure in a suit, with long arms and no face. The character was created in 2009 for a paranormal Photoshop contest on the Something Awful forum, which led to a viral explosion of Slenderman photos, YouTube videos, and fan fiction. Morgan and Anissa discovered Slenderman on the Creepypasta Wiki and became obsessed with the idea of becoming "proxies," or servants, to him. Morgan eventually convinced Anissa that killing Bella would sufficiently appease the Slenderman, enabling them to live in his so-called "Slender Mansion," which they believed to be located in the middle of Nicolet National Park in northern Wisconsin.