Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

A legend in the making!

Reviewed by: Alicia Glass
Published on: March 25, 2022

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Rating: 7.5

A journalist and her camera crew follow the story of an aspiring killer and his meticulous plans to create a masterpiece of horror in the sleepy town of Glen Echo.

Although technically this film could be considered an entry into that nightmare plaguing the Horror world, Found Footage, it comes off more like a documentary. And it takes a certain kind of Horror fan to really appreciate what the documentary is trying to bring off, which is basically your standard farmhouse in the woods plus partying teenager death Horror movie, but from the Villains point of view. And if you are that kind of Horror fan, which of course I am, you will enjoy this movie. Plus, hey, it has Robert Englund as Doc Halloran.

So Taylor (Angela Goethals) and her camera crew have somehow found this guy Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), and talked him into an exclusive look at his life as an aspiring slasher descending on the town of Glen Echo. Leslie is meticulous and thorough, always has a plan and a backup plan, has carefully thought out every aspect of the impending final showdown and his own role in it, has a backstory setup and even an older Mentor (Scott Wilson) to train him in the ways of murder. Thoughtfully casting townsfolk in the pivotal roles of Enemy (Robert Englund) and Virginal Survivor Girl (Kate Miner), as with most standard Horror movies, Leslie roots for all his various characters right into the camera, and quite against their wills Taylor and her crew find themselves getting involved. Leslie deconstructs the how-to of a great many apparently supernatural killers tricks, and sprinkled throughout the movie are homages to traditional Horror films – Hellraiser, Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm St., Poltergeist and even The Shining. (It makes a for a great Horror trivia drinking game while watching the movie.) Horror mainstay Zelda Rubenstein even makes a cameo as psychic Mrs. Collinwood. But ultimately, it turns out Leslie was holding a few things back during his supposedly candid interviews with Taylor, and when our director discovers she’s the real intended Virginal Survivor Girl, the final showdown is nothing like the audience has been lead to believe. And don’t forget, Leslie has a final trick up his sleeve.