Behind the Mask : DVD REVIEW
Directed by Scott Glosserman
Starring: Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, & Robert England
Behind the Mask is one of those films that had so much buzz behind it early on that I knew it was going to be hard for the film to live up to it all when I saw it. And I was right. The film is basically a behind the scenes look at a masked serial murderer. In the world of Behind the Mask characters like Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers aren't just stories, they're real events that have taken place and are admired by people such as the films main character Leslie Vernon. An amatuer film crew led by Taylor ( ANgela Goenthals) is following Lesie around in the weeks leading up to the big event where he'll lure some sterotypical sex crazed teens to an old abandoned house where he'll proceed to pick them off one by one. Leslie is played with gleeful enthusiasm by Nathan Baesel. He sets up all the details needed to be the perfect masked killer. We're shown the work that goes into creating a mythology and preparing a location for the hunt. Finally leading up to the big night when he'll get to slash his way through victim after victim of unsuspecting teens.
Behind the mask is almost entirely filmed from the perspective of the documentary crew that's following Leslie. And in many ways this works very well and to the benefit of the film. Where it doesn't work is in scenes such as one in the library where the Leslie and the crew and scoping out their "survivor girl" the one lone girl that will come to the party and survive the night to kill Leslie at the end. Here the documentary style is dumped and its suddenly filmed in the style of a really mediocre slasher film. I get the joke but it happens so abruptly and comes across so cheesy that it just feels like it shits on all that it built up to that point. It only gets worse at the end of the film when the documentary camera is dumped entirely for the final act and we're treated to your typical slasher movie ending.
Where the film fails in its inconsistancies in direction it succeeds in the casting of Nathan Baesel as Leslie Vernon. Baesel plays the part like a well trained athelete training for the big game. There's not a hint of moral dilemma for him and he's so excited about what he's doing that its hard not to want to see it all go his way. Angela Goethals plays Taylor who is leading this documentary. She's the perfect balance of wide eyed innocence and journalistic integrity. She becomes very wrapped up into what Leslie is doing and even sympathizes with him until she's forced to decide if she wants to let him kill these people or not.
The concept of Behind the Mask is a great one. The problem is that its inconsistent. It can't decide whether it wants to be serious or make fun of itself and that's unfortunate. It builds up this serious take on a masked killer through the eyes of a documentary camera which in itself has its own level of humor but it works well. The problem really lies with the cinematic camera and its slasher cliche's that do nothing to set the film apart as anything more than a slightly more intelligent slasher movie.
2.5 out of 5 bloody axes