“Behind the Mask” is an underrated gem for horror fans.
Are you a horror movie junkie? Have you watched so many bad slasher movies over the years? “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon” is the movie that justifies all those hours you’ve spent watching those run-of-the-mill, any-holiday-under-the-sun formulaic sub-par slashers by letting you in on every joke and trope that writer/director Scott Glosserman exploits for the audience’s viewing pleasure.
“Behind The Mask” is set in a world where all the notorious slashers from the 70’s and 80’s exist: Michael Myers (Halloween), Freddy Krueger (Nightmare On Elm Street), Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th), Chucky (Child’s Play), etc. The film follows Taylor (played by Angela Goethals), who’s been granted access to film a documentary of our serial killer Leslie Vernon. Vernon lifts the curtain and gives the audience a detailed look into his entire process: selecting his “survivor girl”, how he lays the proper predicate to implement & execute his mass murder, his training regime, etc. The story unfolds like a found footage comedy up until the third act — when it seamlessly transitions into the very slasher it satirizes throughout.
Nathan Basael plays our affable serial killer and he absolutely nails it. He is committed 100% and much of the comedy stems from how seriously his character takes himself. As far as Leslie is concerned, this is his big moment that he’s decided to share with the world and how dare anyone trivialize it? Forget about his victims that he plans to slaughter— Leslie wants the audience to admire his work and appreciate the burden he has inflicted upon himself: to carry the torch from the likes of Jason Voorhees and be the next infamous serial killer.
Basael’s “Chris Pratt-ish” charm oozes through the screen as he welcomes Taylor and her film crew into his world. It is a shame that “Behind The Mask” didn’t garner Basael more acting work as his comedic timing and acting chops carry the movie. In lesser hands, the film wouldn’t be nearly as effective or enjoyable.
Robert Englund excels in his supporting role as the “Doctor Loomis-esque” Doc Halloran. Scott Wilson plays Leslie’s mentor as the retired “old pro”. The rest of the cast competently rounds out the film to give true horror fans an underrated & under-appreciated gem. Go see this movie!