Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Directed by: Scott Glosserman
Category: Horror

Ya know, I'd seen a few images from this film from time to time (nothing terribly exciting) on various lists of horror films and horror sites, but honestly, the photo's I did see and the cover art didn't really do anything for me. And something about that title always bothered me. It's an odd title, especially for a so-called slasher film. It sounds too serious, for my taste anyway.

Well, it was suggested as a must see on a recent "Best B Films You've Never Seen" list on some website, which was then backed up by a fellow filmgeek as being pretty darn good. So now my interest is piqued and I thought, what the hell; let's give it a go.

* Slight Spoilers Ahead
Knowing absolutely nothing about this film going in, I was immediately thrown off by it's supposed "found footage" angle. A few minutes in and my concerns were somewhat put to rest when I discovered the film takes more of a faux documentary approach rather than full-on "found footage" one. Thankfully, there's no shaky-cam found in here. Hallelujah! Even then, it's only partly documentary style for the most part, as they ditch the documentary angle and go into an actual film in the third act, which is in itself, an interesting and bold move.

One thing that does and will set this apart from a lot of other films of this type is that it's pretty darn clever.
Essentially what we have here is a world where serial killing legends like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger are real individuals, not just movies. And so a documentary crew decides to follow the exploits of a serial killer by the name of Leslie Vernon as he plots and plans out his attacks, which will culminate in an old abandoned house on the anniversary of his supposed death as he's meticulously constructed a scenario where if all falls into place, will lead a group of horny teenagers to their demise.

Whats fascinating about this film is that for a good 75% of the way, it's not necessarily a horror film. It's a documentary that's more funny and amusing than anything as Leslie Vernon, in his charismatic way, deconstructs the myths of horror films and the killers that star in them. It's not until the third act of the film that things finally get down and dirty and we're thrust into a full-on old school slasher film. Not one that will knock your socks off or redefine the genre, but an entertaining one. And regardless of whether you find the end to be a rehash of every popular slasher film that has come before it or not, you can't deny the film's charm as a whole. It really is quite fun. Add to that some fun cameo's by Freddy himself Robert England, the best Jason on the block Kane Hodder, along with Zelda Rubinstein (You know, the cleaner in Poltergeist. I had no idea she was still alive!) and Scott Wilson, Hershel from The Walking Dead.

Surely a good time is to be had here if you take the time and go in with an open mind. Currently this is streaming on Hulu Plus.

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