Plot: What’s it about?
Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) has waited his entire life for one night, an evening where he will put himself to the test and see if his immense preparation was enough. He has walked through the scenario countless times, going over all the details time and again, while also laying the foundation to ensure all paths lead to that night. If all goes well, he will slaughter several teenagers and have a showdown with a virgin, whom he seeks to empower. A rash of violence based on a local legend and Vernon has even brought in a film crew to document the process. Taylor (Angela Goethals) and her crew will film Vernon as he prepares and then their cameras will document his reign of terror as it unfolds. As the time approaches, the work seems to have paid off, as the pieces begin to fall into place for Vernon’s bloodbath. But even though he has calculated every risk and planned every move, will there will be a surprise or two even he can’t handle?
Ever wonder how Jason manages to slaughter all those teens without breaking a sweat or how Michael Myers is able to keep up in those chaotic bloodbaths? The answer is quite simple, preparation. If you’ve ever had questions about maniacal murders, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is sure to provide answers. This is one of the most innovative, unique movies in recent years, which is fantastic news for horror fans. The story is impressive and the execution is superb, the writing here is very good and you can tell a lot of passion and hard work went into the concept. The cast is good too, though Angela Goethas struggles at times, but Nathan Baesel carries the burden well. The film is loaded with little touches that genre fans will love, though sadly, the gore level is low. Even so, the entertainment level is high, with no real dull stretches to speak of. In the end, Behind the Mask is a very good horror movie and for genre fans, is a must see.
Video: How does it look?
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie uses a mixture of standard cinematography and handheld footage, so this isn’t a consistent transfer. But the handheld footage is supposed to be shaky, soft, and have a homemade look. As some of the movie is intended to look like a documentary, the footage needs to be less than stellar, so no complaints there. The rest of the visuals look excellent, sharp and detailed at all times. The colors look natural and contrast is spot on, so black levels are flawless. So while the visuals here demanded different presentations, this transfer was up to the challenge and the movie looks terrific.
Audio: How does it sound?
I was impressed by the audio here, as the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround option was quite dynamic. The documentary scenes don’t have the depth of course, but when the action heats up, so does this track. The tension and suspense are amplified to eerie levels, which is great news, as horror movies need intense tension. The track provides the usual cheap scares too of course, but the overall sound is natural and effective. So it might not blow out the woofers, but the soundtrack enhances the movie’s atmosphere and that is what this kind of movie needs. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary is up first, with stars Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Britain Spellings, and Ben Pace all on hand. The group shares memories and anecdotes from the production, but also their own horror movie thoughts. So we find out who or what scares them, which adds to the track’s overall value. Also here are two featurettes, one a general look behind the scenes, the other focused on the casting process. The on set footage was quite cool, as you can see how professional and focused the production was. The last of the supplements is a selection of deleted & extended sequences.