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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
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
Tags for Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon Full Movie
, Nathan Baesel
, Robert Englund
, Scott Wilson
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