Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Film
3 out of 5 stars
BLUE LOON Baesel digs up killer instincts.
BLUE LOON Baesel digs up killer instincts.

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

You know the type: every Jason and Freddy movie committed to memory, every machete hack, windpipe slash and false ending anticipated with glee. But enough about me. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon will certainly play to your tastes—or at least your funny bone. A mostly lighthearted mockumentary for horror heads, the movie charts the workaholic regime of a wanna-be suburban terrorizer (Baesel), shadowed by a plodding documentary crew as he executes his evil agenda. Kickboxing, library stalking, high-school-virgin selection: All of it goes into building the perfect beast, and it’s damned hard work (or so Vernon gripes).

The movie’s faux-serious intro—visiting such haunted communities as “Elm Street” and Halloween’s “Haddonfield”—sets the bar impossibly high; later, a cameo by In Cold Blood’s Scott Wilson as a retired boogeyman adds a nostalgic Johnny Lunchpail mentality to the proceedings. But the appeal of such post-Scream insider humor will be limited. Even as the film’s intense Blair Witch--like documentarian Taylor (Goethals) becomes entwined with her subject, their lengthy conversations about horror theory slow the momentum. Rewarding for cultists only, the movie forgets to scare. If you’re not laughing, that could be deadly. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — Joshua Rothkopf

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