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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  • ★★★★ 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.

  • ★★★★ 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 Matthew Maleficent on Letterboxd

    Imo, the best horror spoof ever made. This is my third time watching it. I have heard the film makers are struggling to make a sequel/prequel to this film, but they are having financial difficulties.

    If you haven't seen this movie see it immediately. For any slasher fan it is the ultimate analysis/satire of the genre that has ever been created. It is super unique, and employs a "found footage" aspect as well as a classic slasher aspect, and this is done PERFECTLY. If you have seen this and (obviously) love it as much as I do, buy some stuff from their store! Get a cool poster or a T-shirt or get the DVD. All proceeds are going to go towards "Before the Mask: Return of Leslie Vernon". I need for this film to be made so help these guys out!

  • ★★★★½ review by Daniel Rodriguez on Letterboxd

    Once in a while I saw some people log this movie on letterboxd giving high rates, and I've seen it very often in lists of best horror movies from the past decade, so the easiest conclusion I got was "I need to watch this movie ASAP", and that's what I just did yesterday.

    It's pretty easy to understand why this movie got so much love from horror fans right on the first minutes. "Behind the Mask" is set in a world where the three most supernatural spree killers are real, Freddy, Jason and Michael Meyers! With that background "world" and a fake documentary style, we follow the story of a new legened about to be born, following the steps of those great killers, Leslie Vernon! I think I'm not alone when I say that "Behind the Mask" have one of the best scripts seen in recent horror, using fantastic metalinguistic moments to make the life of a serial killer something as a magic show, with the killer using in "real life" all the set up that usually are used by the special effects team in this kind of movie. All the process created by Leslie Vernon is totally ingenius, making him one of the most clever villains that ever commited to a horror film and that really doesn't have the respect and popularity it deserves. As a psychologist student, I also enjoyed the references they've made about the structural elements of that kind of Horror, some really nice things that I've never thought about and makes a lot of sense.

    Despite of the fact that we follow all the plan in the fake documentary part, they've managed to make an excelent plot twist, and that's another score to the writer, since the movie has elements of mockumentary and classic slasher but surpasses both of them, with a perfect combination of those elements.

    The cast did a good job as well, giving life to all the stereotypes of this subgenre without looking completely dumb and also playing with that metalinguistic element, pointing out failures in the "rules" of that subgenre, the same thing they've failed to do with "Cabin in the Woods", in my humble opinion. But the only one that really deserves special mention was Nathan Baesel, who played Leslie Vernon, since he gave life to one of the most charismatic villains in a long time, totally crazy and commited with his "job" and alleged "work to society".

    The Rise of Leslie Vernon is for sure one of the best and more clever horror movies from the past decade, deserves all the praise it gets, that I honestly think is not enough.

    I almost forgot, there're some great "cameos" here, like Kane Hodder, Robert Englund and Zelda Rubinstein, faces all horror fans are really familiar with, sometimes with masks...

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