Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo, all the while deconstructing the conventions and archetypes of the horror genre for them.


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  • ★★★★½ review by Ian West on Letterboxd

    First revisit in quite some time, and it’s just as fun and enjoyable as I remembered, with a fine cast and an exquisite setup. I don’t revisit this often—choosing to to savor this every other year or so,but never the less it holds a special place for me... by 2004 I had lost three grandparents in a three month span and still lingering family losses/being in the heart of ground zero during 9/11 were hitting me hard, so I went into a self imposed exile from horror for a few years. I needed a break with all the torture porn and bad vibes Dubya years, and tbh when I finally started to get back to being my former self this and House of the Devil totally reignited my love for the genre. So basically, this one’s special for me.

    Side note: Robert Englund as a Dr. Loomis Ahab character is one of my favorite things.

  • ★★★★ review by DirkH on Letterboxd

    Film#29 of 'It's June Jim, but not as we know it'

    This film should get as much recognition as other fantastic meta aware genre commentaries like Tucker & Dale or the first Scream film. It is that good.

    This film does something really clever in that it creates a kind of flipped movie reality. The horror genre as we know it, in this case the slasher genre in particular, is the real world here, but so is the person responsible for the machinations behind it, only he is something completely different from what you'd expect.

    Behind the Mask blends the two different styles, the faux-documentary style and the big budget horror style really well. Especially the cinematic horror bits were rather funny as they are in this film's universe portrayed as the real world.

    That absurd notion and the way it tackles all the genre tropes and the way it explains them and what they represent is just a joy for an old horror fan like myself.

    The only complaint I have is that as a horror film, which it at some points tries to be, it is a bit bland and unconvincing. Having said that, when you don't approach it as a horror film and just go along with the absurd universe they have created it is a fun ride with a very creative script, making this a film that should be watched by more people.

  • ★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd

    Hoop-Tober, Film 25 of 31:

    Good movie.

    The guy who played Leslie reminded me a lot of Michael C. Hall, which is kind of ironic. Seeing Robert Englund take on a heroic role was hilarious for me as a fan of the Elm Street series... also, my mom's name is Leslie so THANKS OBAMA for making me scared of my own mom, jeez.

    sry i'm drunk

  • ★★★★ review by bree1981 on Letterboxd

    Hoop-Tober 2.0 # 18

    Why has it taken me so long to watch this film? Its been sitting on my self for years now and even though I've heard good things about it I always put off watching it.

    Shot faux documentary style and set in a world where the likes of Michael Myers (Mike) and Jason Vorhees (Jay) really exist a young crew of inexperienced filmmakers have been given exclusive access to Leslie Vernon, a seemingly normal guy who's hiding a burning ambition to become the next great psycho killer, Leslie is currently preparing to go on a rampage, carefully selecting and stalking his prey he's going through an intense training regime so he's ready for the most important night of his life. He takes the crew through each step of his preparation deconstructing all the rules of the slasher genre along the way before inviting them to witness the night where he will go down in infamy.

    This is an brilliantly original and hilarious take on the slasher film, full of little nods and winks to the films that came before, it sends itself up for the first two acts before switching things up for a more traditional carnage filled finale. The film also has an ace up it's sleeve in the performance of Nathan Baesel who plays Leslie with just the right amount of dead pan crazyness. I'd recommend this movie to anyone but horror geeks should get a real kick out of it.

  • ★★★½ review by maskull on Letterboxd

    My Eyes Hurt When I Go Outside, It's Too Bright!!! (or, My Halloween Horrorfest 2018) Movie #61

    A fun set up and it's mostly really clever coming up with ways how Jason, Michael and their ilk can actually do what they're doing in a real world setting. I really enjoy that this takes place in a world where Jason, Chucky, Freddy, and Michael are real. Though it made me wonder how especially the purely supernatural ones could actually exist in the same world as this movie. Oh well, I guess I was thinking too much. It's weird how it changes from a documentary style occasionally into a traditional film style. It's really jarring, more so in the first half than when they actually commit to it in the second half. Actually my biggest problem with this movie is how it becomes a very standard slasher film after an interesting reveal. But I guess maybe that's the point. Oh well, most of this movie is one of the more clever takes on a slasher film I've seen in a long while, and the problems are minor enough that they don't really take away anything substantial from the movie for me. Plus, the mask is cool.

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