Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Behind The Mask has received almost universal good reviews, so I was very much looking forward to this. Unfortunately, my opinion is a bit lower than most.

The first two-thirds of the movie is a mock documentary, with a reporter-wannabe and a film crew following around Leslie Vernon, who is in training with a mentor to be an unstoppable serial killer in the manner of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger. This is played for laughs, with Leslie having an almost childish glee in perfecting his craft. The only problem is, it goes on too long. A mockumentary about a movie slasher – we get it. The joke turns tired before they are through with it. Then the last third switches gears and becomes a traditional slasher film – too traditional. There is little new in this section, and I had a strong sense of “Been there, done that.” The main twist is fairly obvious, and the viewer figures it out far too long before the characters in the movie do.

There are a lot of in-jokes, making me wonder if the average viewer even got them. For example, at the beginning of the movie, Kane Hodder is seen going into 1428 Elm Street. To appreciate this joke fully, you had to know (a) 1428 is an address from A Nightmare On Elm Street and (b) Kane Hodder is the actor most closely associated with Jason Vorhees. I dunno.

The cast is very good, with Nathan Baesel (Invasion) as Leslie Vernon, Scott Wilson (In Cold Blood) as his mentor, and several others. As I said before, my negative opinion is not in the majority here.

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