‘Terror In The Woods’: Lifetime ‘Suzerain’ Movie A True Story Based On Slender Man?

Terror in the Woods, Lifetime TV’s new movie, is inspired by the Anissa Weier, Morgan Geyser true story, though Lifetime doesn’t specify this. However, true crime watchers have already deduced that Terror in the Woods‘ Suzerain is really Slenderman (Slender Man), the internet legend who lives in a mansion in the forest. Slender Man also likes to kidnap children who don’t carry out his will. The Lifetime true-story-movie is directed by D.J. Viola and stars Sophie Grace and Carrie Walrond Hood.


So is Lifetime’s Terror in the Woods based on a true story?

You be the judge. This sounds a lot like the Slenderman attempted murder story out of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Payton Leutner’s horrific true story played out in May of 2014 when she was found stabbed on the side of a road. Police say the twelve-year-old little girl crawled out of the woods and collapsed until she was discovered by a man on a bike. Payton Leutner survived the attack and lived to tell police that her best friend Morgan Geyser, 12, and her classmate, Anissa Weier, 12, had done it.


What detectives learned next sounded like a plot from a horror movie. Payton Leutner’s parents allowed her to attend her best friend’s birthday, where they hoped to skate, eat pizza, and stay up all night. Instead, Morgan Geyser and another girl, Anissa Weier, forced Payton deep into the forest and stabbed her to please Slenderman, a mythical, faceless man who lived in a mansion in the woods.


Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser disappeared after Payton escaped; they were later apprehended. During the interrogation, Morgan Geyser was more specific about why she stabbed her classmate nineteen times.


 “Kill her. I might as well just say it. We were trying to kill her.”


At trial, the defense teams for Weier and Geyser said the girls tried to kill their friend because they were afraid Slenderman would kill them if they didn’t do it. Both girls were diagnosed with mental illness.



[Second image via Facebook]

Payton Leutner’s bravery and strength is an encouragement to all. Her mother told 20/20, who covered the case in their documentary ‘Out of the Woods’, that she rushed to her daughter at the hospital, hugged her, and asked her how she had the strength to survive. She said Payton told her the following.


“Because I want to live,” then she said, “I want to go home.”


  • When police first told Payton Leutner’s mother that Morgan Geyser had stabbed her daughter, she didn’t believe it. The girls had been friends since 4th grade.
  • Doctors say if the blade had cut Payton a hair length deeper, she would have died within minutes.
  • The internet figure, Slenderman, was created on the Something Awful internet forum in 2009.
  • Payton Leutner’s other classmates were terrified and shocked. Some described Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier as sadistic and chilling.
  • The man who saved Payton happened to come down a bike trail that was closed. If he hadn’t passed through, most likely, Payton wouldn’t have survived.
  • Morgan Geyser was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her parents had no idea she had it. They believe that her untreated mental illness was to blame because Morgan wasn’t in her right mind.
  • According to a 2017 article in the Daily Mail, Payton Leutner is still haunted by the incident.
  • In 2018, the movie, Slender Man, debuted. Out of respect for the families, theaters in Waukesha decided not to show it.

The Lifetime movie, Terror in the Woods, airs on October 14 at 8/7 central.


[Main image via Lifetime. Permission granted]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.