Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)(Review)[Weirdo Wednesday]

Found footage mockumentaries are very hit-or-miss. They can feel like a generic rip off that oozes with desperation and a lack of ideas, or they can shine brightly in a watered down market. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is one of those films that I’ve heard about for years but never felt an interest in watching. One night though when I didn’t know what else to do, I decided to give it a try. This film stole my heart right away.

Behind the Mask is presented as a documentary about someone who is planning to become a serial killer in the likes of Michael Meyers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger. The main cast is composed of a camera guy named Todd, sound engineer Doug, journalist/host Taylor, and Leslie who is the aspiring murderer. Leslie agrees to let them follow him around and learn about him, in exchange that they do not interfere with his plans and they help fuel his background story. What unfolds is a clever film that plays on all the traditional slasher tropes with great colors.

From everything from the Final Girl to the Red Herring, this film helps the audience understand the psychology of what goes into a great slasher. The background story is already based in local legend, the location has a history, and it’s already a given that dumb teenagers will show up one night to party there. Throughout the film, Leslie brings us around to show us the research he has been calculating in regards to his choice of final girl, his choice in costume and weaponry (relying on a pair of denim overalls and a green frog-looking mask, as well as basic farm equipment), and even introduces us to his friends Gene and Jamie who are retired from the game.

This film is a lot of fun and has a great pacing to it. It has cameos from Robert Englund and Scott Wilson, and has a clever script to deliver it. I’m not sure why I waited so long to see this one, but I’m glad I finally did.


'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra

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