Reviews: Behind The Mask The Rise Of Leslie Vernon

Good, but admittedly not great and not really scary

BTM is a film that plays on the slasher genre at a meta level, bringing to mind the Scream movies and The Cabin in the Woods. Unlike Scream, which takes places in a world with slasher movies, and The Cabin in the Woods, which apparently takes place in a world that doesn't actually have slasher movies (based on the total lack of Leaning on the Fourth Wall in the film), BTM takes place in the world of slash movies. It's a humorous and fairly intellectual take on the genre, with pseudo-serious analysis of the standard imagery and a certain self-awareness of how ridiculous the conventions can be.

The switch in style and tone part way through the movie, from a behind-the-scenes to in-the-scenes look, is rather jarring, but oddly enough makes the movie more worthy of rewatching than it might otherwise be, as you see the subtle ways the two halfs are tied together once you know what's coming. The overall storyline is decent, the writing good, but what really holds the movie together is the performance and charisma of Nathan Baesel as Leslie Vernon. He manages to make the character both likeable and creepy at the same time, a not easy, but essential, task.

If you're looking for scares, the intellectual approach means that this in not your movie, but there's more to horror than grossing people out or making them jump in their seat. But I enjoy a movie with some self-awareness and had a great deal of fun with this one.