“Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon” stars newcomer Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, and co-stars the legendary Robert Englund. It’s written and directed by first-time director Scott Glosserman.
Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) is the new slasher on the streets and invites a crew of filmmakers to document his life as he plans his next kills in the sleazy town known as Glen Echo. While the filmmakers get a sort high from the experience of the premeditated murders, once the psychotic Leslie Vernon kills his first victims, that euphoria soon diminishes.
Writer/Director Scott Glosserman has a little fun with the subject, adding references to Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, and Jason Vorhees. All of this is mentioned in the sluggish beginning, involving two dimensional character development that soon evolves into three dimensional character development as the film proceeds. This movie clearly has it’s ups and downs.
The first half of the movie is a complete mess. It has an unrelenting artificial flavoring heavily coated on the flimsy documentary style camera work that lessens the realistic effect. As the film continued on, one scene was projected that was very interesting. This scene involves the premeditated murder of a group of party animals. From there on, the film moves slowly up and down the rating scale, containing an occasionally intelligent script and a couple scenes of boredom where I found myself more interested in petty things, like the twirling of my thumbs. One thing is for certain, this is a sadistic insight of the mind of a serial killer that will be the root of a long discussion during dinner time.
I would’ve liked the film to be more of a slasher film than a documentary. The movie lacked blood (some of the most grotesque moments were off camera) and displays a series of cheap and forgettable kills. Therefore, the true gorehound, like me, will be somewhat disappointed. Nathan Baesel gives a mighty strong acting debut, bringing a moderately creepy vibe, especially when he is preparing his attacks. Scott Glosserman uses similar elements of “The Blair Witch Project”, without the staining style or powerful substance. I do see the talent here, but it wasn’t used to it’s full extent. There are some strong, compelling performances and a sometimes incisive script that are overwhelmed by a substantial amount of dimwitted moments. Did I like it? Not really, but I wouldn’t withhold you from seeing it.