Saturday, March 7, 2009

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006; Scott Glosserman)

In a world where slashers are not movies, but in fact reality, a young man by the name of Leslie Vernon is about to become the next great killer. To mark the occasion, he has given special access to three young wannabe journalists to record him as he prepares for the night that he hopes will launch him into slasher history.

Oh and how he succeeds. This film is everything a slasher should be and everything a satire wants to be. I say wants to be because as we all know, slasher satires have been done before. Don't let that scare you off, though, this is no Scream. With self references that put Scream's to shame and acting that is truly inspiring (more on that later) Behind the Mask is worth ten times it's own weight in gold. If someone would be so kind as to calculate what that actually comes out to that would be very helpful. I am simply assuming that it comes out to a decent amount, but wouldn't I look like a fool if it wasn't?

Anyway, on to the acting. While acting is an aspect I tend to skip over unless it is appalling, I felt that with this movie, it is very much needed. Nathan Baesel as Leslie Vernon is captivating to say the least. He appears in front of the screen like a child celebrating Christmas. His energy and vigor are palpable as we watch him jump and tremble with excitement at the very idea of his special night.

The cinematography is everything you could want in a slasher and more. Throughout the film we switch from mockumentary style camera as we watch the journalist's footage and pretty standard yet crisp slasher filming. The transitions flow smoothly, despite how it may sound, and work beautifully in a certain sequence where we are walked through the night as Vernon wants it to unfold.

The weak points? Well, there really aren't any. While maintaining a resemblance to the slasher formula, the mockumentary filming and the depth to the satire give it a life and a feel of it's own. However, with that comes a certain understanding that the audience must have a previous grip on basic slasher standards. I want to give it two separate scores to resemble this, but I wouldn't know how, so for now...

Edit: I have decided not to punish this film at all for expecting some previous knowledge. So a perfect score it is.

Score: 5/5

Notes: Ahab, Virgin, and Robert Englund

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