This Day in Horror

23 October 2016

31 Days of Horror Day 23: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon 2007 - REVIEW by Jay Pendlebury


Genre fans can be notoriously critical. A somewhat ironic statement I know, but true none the less. I am in awe of people who can create a film(s) being their vision and put it out there at the mercy of public opinion but more dauntingly, the opinion of their peers. Fortunately for us horror filmmakers tend to be a brave breed. Thankfully I find the horror community to be a fairly understanding bunch. They can appreciate the effort and find the honesty of films shining through in spite of poor effects, limited budgets, no name actors etc. Perhaps the one exception to this is horror/comedy. We love our genre whole heartedly and don't appreciate it being disrespected. Any chance Tyler Perry will read this?

Most horror films have an element of comedy to them, whether intended or not. Some films do this balancing act beautifully, Return of The Living Dead, Re-Animator, and Evil Dead 2 are prime examples. Some I feel lean too far into comedy and don't satisfy horror fans who just want something on the lighter side but still genre. Some strive for pure horror but fall woefully short and become unintentional riot fests which we enjoy but lack the substance we desire. 2006's Behind The Mask The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a difficult one to categorize, but it's undeniably a great watch. While it can be argued it's not a"true" horror movie I wouldn't call it a horror/comedy either. Behind The Mask borders on being a mockumentary but a more apt description is that it is just a great film. It does exactly what we all want a movie to do, it draws you in and makes forget about everything else. Its a great escape and has garnered repeated viewings from myself ever since I discovered it.

The film stars Nathan Baesel as Lelise Vernon, an aspiring slasher who is planning his jump from small town legend to reality. Angela Goethals is an fledgling documentarian who Leslie has allowed "behind the scenes" to view and record his plans and processes. Scott Wilson (Walking Dead) and Robert Englund (needs no explanation) have roles in case you need more credibility to convince you to watch. The film is a great mix of humour and darkness with some 80's slasher nostalgia thrown in. The acting is well done and the story flows effortlessly. Clocking in around 90 minutes its not long before the twist of the ending is revealed and pure horror satisfaction is obtained. This is a great movie of all tastes of horror lovers and even non-horror lovers. Again it is just a very well done film and worthy of a watch. It has become one of my staples in my vast rotation of go to movies. It satisfies horror fans dark side of "Oh ya, that's how I would have done that too!" Just do me a favor and don't get caught taking notes.







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