It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a witty and clever homage to horror films (last, I guess, being Scream), but this one takes a whole new angle from breaking down horror movies. Behind the Mask examines not only every slasher movie ever made, but attempts to recreate it down to a science. And, because it’s a movie, of course it does. Combining the refreshing take of a mockumentary and not taking itself too
A stunningly shredding performance.
seriously with a bit of ironically dark humor, this movie proves that even horror movies can be original.
Taken from the angle that Jason Vorhees, Freddie Krueger, and Michael Meyers are real people, this movie accepts the idea that there really are slasher serial killers out there. And what they do, they do for a living. It’s an art form. And, more than that, it’s all planned out to be executed flawlessly. There’s not escaping the killer, he does cardio.
She looks like Erin, right? It’s not just me?
So we follow Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), a relatively unknown actor to me, but one that will stand out forever after his entrancing performance in this film. After accepting the terms of a documentary crew following him around, he is joined by Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals), an aspiring journalist. He shows off his farm and the legend behind his supposed “death”, and lays it all on thick. Taylor & crew can’t believe at first that this is all real, until they accompany Leslie on his stake-outs and preparation trips for his night of killing. And then it all becomes too horrifyingly real.
This movie leaves no idea unturned or examined. Everything is
Oh Robert Englund, you…
explained from a reasonable and logical standpoint to the extreme that someone could pull this off without much trouble (provided that humans can be predictable). The documentary style really added a level of eeriness that the movie-like scenes detracted from the film. You get that generic feel of Halloween or Friday the 13th, but I much rather liked following Leslie around on his preparation and first killings. It’s all a matter of preference.
What impressed me most about the movie, that I kinda mentioned, was the meticulous detail to movie conventions and plot in this movie. Everything was answered for and accountable. There were homages all over the place to other films (Robert Englund as the therapist character from Halloween, Zelda Rubinstein from Poltergeist as the storyteller, it’s all there) and great little tidbits you have to look for to appreciate. As a horror film enthusiast, this movie was right up my alley.
I don’t really have many complaints (did Angela look like Erin from The Office at all? Anyone?) and enjoyed the film thoroughly. A friend of mine’s boyfriend did a frighteningly good costume of this, and that made me appreciate it all the more. If you love to deconstruct movies and love the horror genre, this movie is a must have in your collection. It takes you in all the places you wanna go, and does it with a dark laugh hiding in the shadows. 8.4 out of 10.
These teens are in for destruction.
Leave a comment | tags: Angela Goethals, art form, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, breaking down horror movies, collection, dark laughs, deconstruct movies, documentary crew, down to a science, eerie, entrancing, Erin from The Office, farm, Freddie Krueger, Friday the 13th, generic feel, good costume, Halloween, homage, horror film enthusiast, horror films, horror genre, ironic dark humor, Jason Vorhees, journalist, leaves nothing unexamined, legend, Leslie Vernon, meticulous detail, Michale Meyers, mockumentary, movie conventions, movie-like scenes, must have, Nathan Baesel, night of killing, planned out, poltergeist, preparation trips, real people, reasonable and logical, recreation, refreshing take, Robert Englund, Scream, serial killers, slasher films, stake-outs, standout performance, storyteller, Taylor Gentry, therapist character, to the extreme, unknown actor, whole new angle, witty and clever, Zelda Rubinstein | posted in Movies
I cannot speak highly enough of Saw creators Leigh Whannell and James Wan, but this movie in the horror genre is in a whole other ballpark. I had been wanting to see this movie since the day it came out but I could never rouse any of my friends to locate that spine and see it with me. So I sat down with my girlfriend and watched it instead. I was rather surprised with my final impressions.
The movie starts out like any other haunted house film. Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) are loving parents of three children: one baby girl and two
Old decrepit ladies scare people, right?
young boys. Foster (Andrew Astor) is their other son, but they don’t care about him. He gets one scene. The son they do care about is Dalton (Ty Simpkins). Some strange things are going on in the house, and one day Dalton decides he’s got some explorin’ to do. He climbs up into the attic and tries to turn on the light. He fails, falls off the ladder, and screams the most unconvincing scream you could ever think of. Long story short, he ends up in a coma that is just actually an extended slumber.
A dad in peril.
Here’s where things get good. Renai is being constantly bombarded by evil spirits and apparitions that appear to her and freak her right the hell out. Josh, the high school teacher husband, avoids his comatose son and the evilness in the house at all costs. He wants his son to be okay, but the months drag on (meanwhile their other son is nonexistent. The baby girl gets more face time than he does…) He can’t handle it and the wife is becoming fed up.
With some evil man presence being the last straw, the family moves out into another house, only to experience the haunting all over again. So what could it be? It must be something…
I like the direction that Leigh Whannell was taking this movie, despite the deliverance onscreen. James Wan did a good job of some scary pacing and using shadows to his advantage. The scene everybody talks about? If I had been in the
Save us, Lin Shaye!
theater, I may have jumped. The scaryness aspect that sold me though was the use of shadows and tricks on the eyes. Many times in the film, and everyone has experienced this, you see things in the shadows that are tricking your mind. A coat on a chair in the right light looks like a menacing sitting figure. A space behind a door hides demons. All that sorta thing. James Wan played that up so well that the main focus of the camera wasn’t even on these things. It left images for your mind to wander over and think, “Wait a second, didn’t the camera just miss that evil demon there in the corner?” That’s a first for a film I’ve seen.
Classic Leigh Whannell hipster move.
After this haunted house first half, comes the strange second half. In a strange way to explain away these occurrences, the family employs the help of a psychic who talks with the other side (Elise Ranier played by Lin Shaye). With her gas mask in hand and Specs (Leigh Whannell) by her side, it’s only a matter of time before the movie gets into exorcism and spectral beings. People with fears of 50’s ghosts in proper attire, beware.
I really felt the movie was carried a lot by the music it employed. There were plenty of scenes that were enhanced by the shrill violins and pulse pounding beat. Hell, I was scared of the movie’s use of Tiptoe Through the Tulips. That song and the voice it is sung in are freaky. But, at other times, the music came across as overdramatic and ruined the seconds after the scary moment happened with this over the top dramatic piece. You have to know when to play your hand.
The demon as it should have been.
What really ruined the movie wasn’t the reveal of the main monster, but the constant use of him. What is not seen as much is more frightening than what is. To describe the demon and then see him cheesily chasing the young boy through the house is just the kind of B-rated to C-rated antics that caught this movie so much flack. And the ending as well. Just when you didn’t want another twist, they throw you back in.
The acting was 50/50. I am a huge fan of Patrick Wilson, have been since I saw him in Watchmen. He has an understated way of acting that comes off as truthful. In this movie I considered him one of the best, and it showed in his dad-like ways and regretful attitude towards the end. Rose Byrne could have been better. I’ve been hesitant about her acting since Troy, and maybe that was right to doubt… Ty Simpkins, the main plot point of the movie does not know how to sell
GTFO, Barbara Hershey…
acting. Especially not a horror movie. He made it more comical. Pretty unremarkable. Also, get Barbara Hershey out of these dark thrillers. She may have had a heyday in films, but it has past. And these movies (I’m including Black Swan) are not meant for her. It needs to stop.
So with all these mixes of good scares and ample acting with a strange ending leads to an overall disappointing reaction from me about this movie. My girlfriend especially was disappointed. Sad. I’ll give this movie an A for effort, but when it comes to an actual rating, it’s pretty average. 6.1 out of 10.
1 Comment | tags: 50's ghosts, A for effort, ample acting, Andrew Astor, apparitions, average acting, B-rated antics, baby girl, bad child actor, Barbara Hershey, Black Swan, cheesy chase scene, coma, comatose son, dad, Dalton Lambert, dark thriller, demons, disturbing images, downward slope, Elise Ranier, evil spirits, evilness, exorcism, extended sleep, final impression, Foster Lambert, freaky, gas mask, good scares, great use of music, haunted house, haunting, high school teacher, horror genre, husband, Insidious, James Wan, Josh Lambert, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, loving parents, main monster, main plot point, menacing, mixed feelings, needs to stop, over the top at times, overall disappointing reaction, overdramatic, Patrick Wilson, poor deliverance onscreen, poor ending, psychic, pulse pounding beat, regretful attitude, Renai Lambert, Rose Byrne, sad, Saw creators, scary moments ruined, scary paced film, shadows, shrill violins, Specs, spectral beings, strange ending, strange events, surprising, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, tricks on the mind, Troy, two young boys, Ty Simpkins, unconvincing child acting, understated actor, Watchmen | posted in Movies