Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006) d. Glosserman, Scott (USA)
A combo of The Blair Witch Project, Man Bites Dog and a Christopher Guest pic, BtM follows a documentary film crew as they attempt to get up close and personal with wannabe slasher icon Leslie Vernon (assayed with Jim Carrey-like glee by Nathan Baesel) as he prepares for his first big mass murder, the one that will put him “over the top.”
Along the way, the tropes and clichés of the slasher film genre are deconstructed, while perhaps not quite as slickly as they were in Wes Craven’s Scream. (That said, I particularly enjoyed the coining of the “Ahab” term to designate the obsessed authority figure on the trail of any good homicidal maniac, in this case played by Robert Englund.)
The change-of-tone third act seems to have as many detractors as supporters, but as I was growing tired of the psuedo-doc format by that point, I enjoyed director/co-writer Glosserman’s verve and unpredictability.
After making a big splash at the 2006 South by Southwest Film Festival, this spiffy little indie slasher/mockumentary continued to make the festival rounds, creating a healthy amount of buzz and garnering numerous awards. Not for all tastes, but certainly worth a shot for fans looking for a slasher flick with a twist.