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Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from R votes
Release: 13 Oct 2006 /

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Director: Scott Glosserman,
Stars: , , ,
Synopsis: The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo, all the while ...

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Critic Reviews


Wes Craven's "Scream" was a strikingly dead-on persiflage of the Slasher genre while at the same time including enough scares to become more than just a parody, but an important part of that genre itself. "Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon" is very similar in that aspect, but it's also completely different in others.

For the most part the movie is a fake documentary in true "Spinal Tap"-fashion. A TV crew follows Leslie Vernon around, a guy who has the ambition to become the next slasher legend after his idols Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger (who exist in the movie's reality). As Leslie shows the team how he prepares for a killing spree he deconstructs one horror rule after the other with pretty amusing results. The movie observes the genre pretty well and the sort of "Backstage" look we get of a horror icon lovingly planning his big night is nothing short of hilarious. Where "Scream" made fun of some ridiculous horror clichés and toyed around with them, "Behind The Mask" is merely explaining just how those seemingly supernatural killers are able to work so effectively. So, although both movies cover similar ground, "Behind The Mask" is never in any way repetitive.

Leslie Vernon turns out to be a really sweet guy who just loves what he's doing. He's friends with an older, more experienced slasher, who's also very warm and talkative. Neither of those guys look like typical maniacs, so when Leslie does make his first appearance masked and all, it's rather amusing.

However, the movie makes a pretty amazing turn in the final third. For the big showdown we leave the movie-within-a-movie scenario created by the documentary set-up and are taken right into the movie's reality. All of a sudden "Behind The Mask" turns into a real slasher film. Although this last part isn't half-bad, it's not quite as enjoyable as what preceded it. The twist is a bit predictable and the movie lacks real gore and suspense at the end in order to work as a slasher flick. One has to say that "Scream" coming from an old professional such as Wes Craven was more successful in that aspect. Still, regarding the fact that this movie strictly concentrates on fun in the first two thirds and only begins to throw in full on horror bits in the end, the showdown works quite well.

Leslie's mask was chosen wisely. It can look ridiculous and scary depending on the mood of the scene. Nathan Baesel, who makes his movie debut here, was chosen even more wisely. He can play the nice guy and the psychopath without ever overacting and hands in a great, great performance. The other member of the cast that must be mentioned is horror legend Robert Englund who does a nice Donald Pleasance-impersonation.

The subtle little homages to "Friday The 13th", "Halloween" and "A Nightmare On Elm Street" throughout the movie are the icing on the cake and will make the heart of every true horror fan beat faster. And that's the only true flaw of "Behind The Mask" right there: it's for true horror geeks only who can laugh about the inside jokes. Everyone else will probably not be entertained as much. If you're into the genre, though, there's no way you should miss this excellent motion picture.

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