The internet phenomena known as Slender Man first appeared sometime in 2009 on the Something Awful forums, created by user Eric Knudsen. Originally submitted as a part of a Photoshop contest, the character was created taking inspiration from the works of writers such as H. P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. The original image (below) depicts a group of children running towards the camera, mostly looking frightened, confused, or even angry. Behind them stands a tall, obscured figure, seemingly with no face, with his arms outstretched. The image included a quote, written by Knudsen, meant to read like an account from a supposed witness of the entity.
We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time…— 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.
The studio began developing the film back in May of 2016, with David Birke penning the screenplay. Birke is a mostly unknown screenwriter, but his most recent credits include Elle (2016) and 13 Sins (2014). Both films were positively received by both audiences and critics, and having seen Elle myself, I can say that I’m actually optimistic when it comes to the story for this film. Elle does an excellent job with not only it’s performances and tackling of sensitive issues, but it’s ambiance and psychological terror are what get me excited to see what Birke comes up with for this film. As for the director, the studio has opted to go with Sylvain White, who, when you look at his filmography, seems to be an odd yet seemingly safe choice. Sylvain’s most notable feature would probably be The Losers (2010), starring such actors like Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans. While that film didn’t receive critical praise, it wasn’t scathing either. Thus it’s hard to get an idea of what he will do with Birke’s screenplay, and how he will handle the surprisingly complicated Slender Man mythos.
Another positive that can be said of the the film’s production is the cast. Our main characters include actresses Joey King (The Conjuring), Annalise Basso (Oculus), Jaz Sinlair (When the Bough Breaks), and Julia Goldani Telles (The Affair). While none of these actresses have hit a high-level of notoriety quite yet, what does bode well is that three of them have already dabbled in the horror genre. And hopefully, if all turns out well, Slender Man will be the perfect film to put these ladies in the spotlight, much like IT did for it’s own young and unknown cast. Speaking of IT, one of the more exciting aspects of this movie’s cast is that Javier Botet (IT, Mama, The Conjuring 2) has been cast as the Slender Man himself! Botet, who has the potential to become a modern day Boris Karloff, wrapped filming in July of this year. While I’m not a fan of every movie he’s in, I can absolutely say that his creature acting always stands out as one of the best parts. His long, skeletal figure makes him the perfect choice to play Slender Man, and will no doubt leave a lasting presence no matter how long he stays on screen.