Deconstructing genres seem like it might be better suited when the medium employed to do it isn't constantly reminding you that that's what it's doing. This is the central problem that I had with Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. The story is simple, a documentary crew is given exclusive access to Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) who is supposedly going to be "the next great psycho horror slasher." Well, as is usually the case things go awry and the crew that is documenting Vernon, as well as some other people with names like "Virgin Girl," "Stoned Guy" and "Slightly More Stoned Guy" become the objects of his reign of terror.
The big problem that I had with this film is that they are shooting a documentary, yet people in the movie refer to characters in other movies like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers as if they were real people. This isn't done a lot but it's done enough to completely ruin the reality of the film for me. While the acting was good it just seemed to make this movie play with what I call "drama humor." It was like these filmmakers started with a joke and then kept running with it, and that sort of became all that this movie really had to hang it's hat on.
Some of the interesting things were when Leslie showed the camera crew how he sets up his victims. This was interesting but there wasn't enough moments like it. If director Scott Glosserman really wanted to deconstruct the genre, he would have gone into more methodology like this. At times I honestly I felt like I was simply seeing a film made by someone who loves horror movies, and was trying to get across a bunch of inside jokes that he and his friends had talked about. The acting for the most part was good, so Glosserman's cast really didn't have a problem there, it's just that I never felt that I got what this movie should have been doing. The fact that I knew what it should have been doing made things even more frustrating.
I will say that when Leslie Vernon finally turns on the people following him around that was done quite well. This movie employed a good mix of horror and scary moments, but what undercut it for me a lot was the ironic, "you should know this" tone that Vernon consistently put across. I never felt that this actor was crazy, just weird. As if he too had been watching all these movies with Glosserman and then was inspired to go on a killing rampage. The camera crew did a very good job of seeming to believe what was happening to them, but as I have stated, the references to the other films as if they were real were just too much for me.
Maybe that was the point? That Leslie Vernon had been so inspired by these movies that he went out to kill people, but the fact that this idea was constantly mentioned made it really difficult to ever settle into what this film was. Overall, I found Leslie Vernon too comical for my tastes.
At the end of the day, I can freely admit when something is over my head. When I just don't get it. That is why I would recommend Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon to people who are fans of horror movies. Perhaps they will get the subtlety and nuance that either this film lacked, or I just plain missed? Whatever the case, based on the other reviews Glosserman has gotten thus far, I must be in the minority.