'More disturbing than a horror movie': What people thought of HBO's Slenderman doc

HBO's documentary about the 2014 Wisconsin stabbing case premiered Monday.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

HBO on Monday debuted Beware The Slenderman, a documentary about what authorities say was the attempted murder of a Wisconsin girl by her two 12-year-old friends.

The actions of the girls and their subsequent, prolonged journey through the courts have been the subject of national fascination after they revealed to police they believed they were acting under the orders of Slenderman.

Both suspects in the case have pleaded not guilty because of mental illness, and in December the attorney for one of them argued the confessions that have been cited should be thrown out, the Chicago Tribune reported. The judge has said a trial could start this spring.

They believed that by sacrificing their friend, Payton "Bella" Luetner – who was stabbed 19 times in Waukesha in May 2014 – they were protecting their families from the internet monster, according to authorities.

Kotaku reports that HBO's documentary is unable to provide viewers with understanding of why they might have carried out the horrific crime, but did offer "an insight into the true power of memetic thought."

Unlike the sensationalized portrayals in national media that painted one of the girls as an evil mastermind and her friend the accomplice, GQ calls the documentary "more disturbing than a horror movie" in large part because of the "heart-breaking" scenes featuring the girls' parents, who have been left shocked and bewildered that their beloved children could carry out such an act.

Rolling Stone has pulled together "6 Things We Learned" from the documentary, which focuses on the months of planning the girls are said to have done, and how they may have used the Slenderman as a projection for the social issues they were facing.

The documentary is "horribly compelling," Entertainment Weekly says, with director Irene Brodsky offering a "more nuanced" explanation for the incident that goes beyond blaming a cult online figure, bringing in "the far more terrifying subject of mental health issues."

You can find more reviews here. HBO/HBO Go subscribers can watch the documentary here.

Here are some of reactions from viewers.

Next Up

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 9.29.12 AM

Target reveals its 'Cyber Week' online deals

The sales will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

Minneapolis police

Mayor Frey, Minneapolis police chief reveal new 'no-knock' policy

The new policy for Minneapolis Police Department was announced Wednesday.

Teddy Bridgewater

Coller: It's a what-if Sunday with Teddy Bridgewater's return

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Ambulance hospital emergency

15-month-old girl's death being investigated by police in Fargo

The child died four days after being found unresponsive.

PD Shimmers closeup

Man with Parkinson's lights up Plymouth with synchronized light show

"The best medicine I have for my disease is what I try to do with the light show," Mike Justak said.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Related

Watch the trailer for HBO's documentary Beware the Slenderman

It's the story of two Wisconsin 12-year-olds who are accused of stabbing their friend 19 times.

Netflix releases eerie trailer for its JonBenét Ramsey doc

Netflix hopes to captivate audiences with its documentary about the death that captivated America.

Residents say no to filming new HBO show Mogadishu, Minnesota

HBO won't be filming at a Cedar-Riverside apartment building after all.

The trailer for Sony Pictures' 'Slender Man' movie is out

The father of a girl accused of stabbing a friend as tribute to Slender Man does not support the film.

A Christmas movie shot in Minnesota gets its premiere this weekend

The home of unapologetically schmaltzy guilty pleasures is premiering a new Christmas film, one which was shot in Northfield, Minnesota.

Talking points from the new Game of Thrones season 7 trailer

HBO served up almost two minutes of intriguing preview for fans to sink their teeth into.