BEHIND THE MASK:
THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON (2006)
Move over SCREAM, there is a new kid on the self-aware horror block. Building from a base previously set up by the serial killer mockumentary MAN BITES DOG and employing the laundry list of well-known horror cliches and motifs, debut director and writer Scott Glosserman energetically takes on the horror genre with one of the most unique entries to the slasher world in quite some time.
Behind Leslie Vernon is relative newcomer Nathan Baesel, who makes his film debut here, and is very eager to please the viewers. His happy-go-lucky attitude, with just a hint of underlying sinisterism, is a biting contrast to what one would suspect to find behind the mask of a serial killer. Via Glosserman and co-writer David J. Stieve's script, Baesel is able to go into great detail about the preparation it takes to be a killer, gives concrete evidence to just how killers are able to always be in the right spot at the right time, thus giving a further nod to Ben, the serial killer of MAN BITES DOG. Baesel has great presence and chemistry, and when he dons his mask, outfit, and gets a hold of his scythe, he truly does transform into a variation on every masked killer to grace the silver screen.
The final act of BEHIND THE MASK takes an interesting twist which may irk some viewers, but is the only logical way for the film to end. Instead of merely standing by and documenting the carnage, Taylor decides to stop Leslie before he can complete his masterpiece. Their cameras turn off, and suddenly the movie switches gears from mockumentary to an actual horror movie. If you can let yourself get wrapped up in it momentum, Glosserman pulls off the sudden style change surprisingly well, employing a slicker look and pulling out all the horror conventions that one would expect, down to the very... last... shot.