27 November 2010

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon 2006 - REVIEW

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. What this genre needs is (figuratively speaking) fresh meat for fans to sink their teeth into. We've been so bombarded with remakes... oh I'm sorry the new term is "reboot"... lately that we've lost faith. Well, I can't really speak for every genre fan so I guess I should say I've lost faith. It's not only remak... er, reboots... it's the lack of quality. Most of the big budgeted production that have come out lately have been dull and boring or just overall crap. Hollywood horror appears to have lost it's shine. But never fear because there is a hero in our midst and his name..... is..... Leslie Vernon.

In a world where supernatural killers like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger are real, journalist Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) and her crew have been given the opportunity to join the next great slasher, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), as he plans to seek his revenge on the town of Glen Echo. The legend of Leslie Vernon is this... There once was a boy, spawned from a vicious rape, who murdered his parents. The angry townspeople, thinking the boy was evil, cast him over the falls and into the icy river never to be heard from again. Well sorta. Taylor and her crew film Leslie, documentary style, as he meticulously plans his murder spree. When the big night comes, things take a sinister, dark turn, and their documentary becomes much less important when the tables are turned.

Baesel's character is so well written and he does a spot on performance transitioning in and out of his dual personas. He said in an interview that he got inspiration from the Silence of the Lambs character Dr. Hannibal Lecter and I could see that. I read reviews that said he seemed too cartoonish but I didn't get that at all. To me he came off as likeable and funny and charasmatic. Goethals also brings her A game to the screen. The chemistry between their characters is solid and at times heartfelt. Even the teens gave an impressive performance.

Hmm, what to say about this film? I've been sitting here for an hour now going over it in my head and can only think of two words... ORIGINAL and PERFECTION... I guess I'll work off of those two words. For all of you in the middle of an eye roll right now, c'mon. How many horror films have you seen that totally deconstruct the basics of the slasher sub-genre? Ever wanted to know why the victims of this type film always get caught? How bout why the lowly virgin is always the one to live? Pretty much every question that you can come up with about the stupid actions of slasher victims is addressed in this "mockumentary" style horror flick.

Scott Glosserman and David J Stieve managed to write a script that not only pokes fun at this particular genre but did it respectfully. Non-horror fans probably won't get the inside jokes of having Kane Hodder appear as Freddy Krueger's one time neighbor or having Robert Englund show up as a "Dr. Sam Loomis" type character or even the cameo by the legendary Zelda Rubinstein. But fans of the genre will definitely pick up on all the subtle and not so subtle inside jokes.

I read several reviews comparing this film to those of the Scream franchise. I don't know what the hell they've been smoking but I don't get that AT ALL. I feel this film is in a class of it's own. I don't think I've ever seen one quite like it. It's original and intelligent and classy. The twists are a bit predictable and the gore is minimal but I'd say it's definitely a must see for any horror fan. For those who say it's not a believable story or that say it's asking too much to believe slashers are real, go pull that stick out of your ass and stop over analyzing EVERYTHING. They call it fiction for a reason.

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