Hypothetical Netflix Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon(2006) is a documentary-style horror/comedy that follows Leslie Vernon,Nathan Baesel, who asks a documentary film crew to follow him as he readies himself to join the ranks of Freddy, Jason, and Michael as a “supernatural” killer. He’s not at all supernatural.
What I like about this movie, and what keeps me coming back to it is its dual functionality. While it’s a narrative set within the context of a documentary, it also acts as a documentary on how slasher movies work. Since the movie is told from the perspective of the serial killer, we get these tongue in cheek jokes like about how Leslie has to do a ton of cardio just to be able to make it look like he’s walking with everyone else is running. For the uninitiated, these little asides act as fundamental building blocks to understanding the genre, as well as being chuckle moments for those well versed.
There are cameo appearances by a couple horror legends; Kane Hodder (he played Jason in a good chunk of the Friday the 13th movies), Zelda Rubinstein (the “this house is clean” lady from the good Poltergeist. This movie was her last movie. She passed away in 2010.) Robert Englund (Freddy from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise) This movie is also full of horror movie Easter eggs that eagle eyed viewers can spot. Pinhead’s puzzle box is in there, as well as Leslie’s mask, a hybrid of Jason and Michael Myers.
The third act of this movie, although a fresh and create idea, drops the documentary angle which is jarring at first, but it falls quickly in line with the ramp up in action. That’s really my only major bug with this movie. If you like horror movies and you haven’t seen this movie yet, you really should. It’s smart, clever, and informative. Perfect.
I was happy to find out that the director, Scott Glosserman, and writer, David J. Stieve, are pair up to do a sequel. If I had to guess, it’d be something like a Scream 2. But who knows?