People underestimate the effectiveness of the mockumentary format. It has been used for decades now and even so, there are not that many notable ones to date. It is easy to see why they can be so effective considering how they are able to mix a real premise and outlandish scenarios that give us permission to laugh. One of the most notable contributors to this genre is Christopher Guest, Guest has managed to continue to put out content within the genre ironically after starring in possibly the most famous within the genre This is Spinal Tap. What you rarely get to see when rifling through your Netflix or video streaming service of choice is an indie mockumentary that just knocks it out of the park.
That brings me to Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, I came to view this movie years ago at a friends house on a whim, and we both just loved it. Classifying it purely as a Mockumentary is not fair, it ventures to break even that genre and cross between an actual horror film and one that is documenting what it takes to be a Supernatural Serial Killer.
Our story follows a young reporter and her film crew who are doing a piece on a man who is training to become a Supernatural Serial Killer, Leslie Vernon. Leslie takes them on a journey on what it has taken for him to prepare and many behind the scenes tricks on how one might be able to accomplish these things. As the film progresses and Leslie starts killing people, it becomes harder and harder for them to stand idly by. Eventually, Taylor (the reporter) decides enough is enough and she is going to stop him. Can they make it out alive or will his plan go off without a hitch?
This is a rare and unexpected win in the somewhat lost art of the mockumentary. Relatively unknown actor Nathan Baesel manages to take this film to a different level with just the right combination of wit and comedic timing. The cast melds perfectly as the film keeps switching from scary to hilarious.
The Film 4/5
I cannot begin to say just how unique this film feels. Director Scott Glosserman and Jaron Presant mold the film into this effortless and natural end product. What it comes down do is the switching back and forth between styles of filming. One minute we are viewing the story through the eyes of the crew and then the next minute we are in a horror film, it happens so quickly and seamlessly that you are almost unaware that it happened at all. Blu-ray is a natural choice to display this and does well to keep us in the story with sacrificing quality.
Picture Quality 5/5
This is one of the first places where we really start to see some budgeting issues. First and foremost, I have an issue with the fact that there is no option for subtitles. I cannot for the life understand why this isn’t an option, but it would seem it was left out of the final release. The second thing I had noticed was the inconsistency in volume, from one scene to the next (not to keep belaying on the same issue but Subtitles would help with this) which can be annoying, to say the least. What I did rather enjoy in this feature was the combination of horror music and the absence of any music gives us an absolutely unique experience. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the perfection of the end credit song, being that of none other than “Psycho Killer” by The Talking Heads.
Audio Quality 3.5/5
We have my second favorite variation on the standard Blu-ray eco-case for this release. We have one of the more rectangular cases with a locking tab that gives the overall feel some weight and quality. On the inside instead of the standard “eco” logo we see again the more rectangular patterns that appear still cutting down on plastic maybe even more so, but somehow it just feels sturdier to me. The artwork that adorns the front is original and enticing. It is also a misnomer in that, in large part, gives the idea that the film is simply a horror film. I would have LOVED a slipcover but cannot be too picky when it manages to hit some other great features for the case when it is clear that we are lucky to have it on Blu-ray at all.
The Packaging 3.5/5
Unfortunately, this is where the biggest budgetary concern may have appeared. There are no special features included. I would have loved to have seen the Gag reel on this one or even a featurette explaining where the inspiration came from but unfortunately neither appear on this release. Although it is hard to complain when a quality movie came from what was probably a very tight budget.
Special Features 0/5
I rather enjoyed this film, and have many times since the first time I viewed it all those years ago. It is such a unique watch, and experience overall. Something to be said about Baesel and his timing, that rivals (in my opinion) that of a young Daniel Tosh. It really comes down to something very simple that many High-budget films miss out on these days. This film just works on nearly every level. The cast, the story, the cameos all meld together in a fantastic combination. It is simply a spectacle to see. We need more films like this. You can find this edition HERE.
Overall 4/5 -Buy this film!!