A mere day after the first trailer dropped, Sony Pictures’ upcoming Slender Man movie has already received some serious backlash. Bill Weier, the father of Anissa Weier, one of the girls involved in the brutal 2014 Slender Man-inspired attempted murder, says he thinks the movie is a direct cash-in on a tragedy, and that it “is extending the pain all three of these families have gone through.”
The attack occurred in 2014, when Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, then 12 years old, assaulted their fellow classmate, Peyton Leutner, with a knife. After being stabbed 19 times, Leutner was rushed to a hospital where she was treated and eventually recovered from her wounds. Last December, Anissa Weier, who is now 15 years old, was sentenced to 25 years in a state mental institution.
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“It’s absurd they want to make a movie like this,” Bill Weier told the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not surprised, but in my opinion, it’s extremely distasteful.”
While the film doesn’t seem to have a direct connection to the attack, there is a scene that involves drawings of the Slender Man character that are strikingly similar to those drawn by Geyser.
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The Slender Man originated as a Creepypasta character in 2009 on the Something Awful forums. Since then, the character has been the subject of horror-themed video games and fan films. The upcoming Slender Man project will mark the character’s first appearance in a feature-length film.
Slender Man is set to release May 18, 2018. It is directed by Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) and stars Joey King as Wren, Julia Goldani Telles as Hallie, Jaz Sinclair as Chloe and Javier Botet as Slender Man.