Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (DVD)
Directed by Scott Glosserman
Released by Anchor Bay
I first got the chance to see Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon at last year's Fantasia Film Festival and was lucky enough to be able to go out that very night and have some drinks with the film’s director, Scott Glosserman, to pick his brain and to tell him just how damn good his movie was.
Now it’s almost a year later, and the flick is finally on its way to your front door so everyone can enjoy it as much as we did that first time. Behind the Mask is funny, smart, a little bit scary; overall it’s just an incredibly well done film that both respects and pokes fun at the horror genre in a way no one’s been able to really pull off before.
The story follows a documentary news crew, led by newbie reporter Taylor Gentry (Goethals) as they follow one Leslie Vernon (Baesel), a young guy who has worked his entire life to be the next mythical serial killer, up there with Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, guys who actually exist in the world of Behind the Mask and are now living a comfortable life of infamy. Vernon’s goal is to terrorize a group of kids who have dared themselves to stay in the house where, supposedly years earlier, Leslie Vernon was dragged out and thrown over a waterfall to his death by the townspeople.
It’s really one of those films that you have to see to fully be able to understand what it’s like, so I won’t go into much more about the plot here. Feel free to read our original review of Behind the Mask if you think that’ll help understand it better. Personally, I suggest just getting the DVD.
Anchor Bay did a good job of loading this one up with features, possibly in an attempt to make up for their shoddy treatment of it when they gave it an under-the-radar theatrical release a few months back. The best of the features is the simply-titled “Making of Behind the Mask”, which shows every stage of the film being made save for post-production, with frequent monologues by director Glosserman detailing what was shot that day and showing his thought process as the film went forward. Though sometimes he does take too long to get to his point, you’ll still get a good idea of just how much work went into making the film, and it’s pretty impressive if you ask me.
Then there’s “The Casting of Behind the Mask”, auditions for the lead roles from all those that didn't make it as well as those that did. Not really too interesting unless you're curious about whom they passed up for leads.
From there you can check out the deleted/extended scenes, most of which make perfect sense as to why they were taken out. There are some very impressive bits of one-take acting going on, mainly from the side of Baesel (who comes from a theater background); the amount of character and personality he lends to Leslie Vernon is remarkable and helps solidify him even more as an actor to keep your eyeballs on in the coming years. But man, some of these scenes just go on and on and on... Sure, it gives you more insight into the Leslie Vernon character, but most of it you really don’t need to know about.
Other than that you have the commentary track featuring Baesel, Goethals, Britain Spellings, and Ben Pace (the last two are the cameramen for Taylor’s doc) that is just barely-controlled mania. I always complain about commentary tracks that don’t feature enough personalities; this is one that features a few too many. Everyone sounds like they’re having fun, sure, but when they’re all talking at the same time and no one’s really conveying any useful information about the movie, your brain will likely start to hurt pretty early on.
As you can see, there’s enough on this disc to keep even the most casual of fans happy, though a commentary track with Glosserman and Baesel alone would’ve been a welcome addition. Still, AB did a solid job getting all the right elements together and allowing those who care to go even deeper into Leslie Vernon’s psyche the opportunity to do so.
Features or no, any self-respecting horror/slasher fan should seek out Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon if you’re in the mood for something that takes a concept we’ve seen before and gives it a fresh, exciting spin.
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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