Behind the Mask (2006) Review: An Original Slasher
“Jason, Freddy, Myers. We All Need Someone To Look Up To.”
Synopsis: The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo.
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Behind the Mask is a dark and intelligent take on the popular slasher subgenre. In normalizing the slasher/serial killer, the movie provides a surprisingly compelling case for the value these killers have to society.
It’s easy to appreciate Behind the Mask’s twists on the familiar. While we still have a houseful of dumb teens getting slaughtered, we have a lot more reason to understand and identify with the killer. Leslie (Nathan Baesel) isn’t really looking for fame so much as he is looking to find his role in life – a yearning we can all relate to. His documentary crew, led by Taylor (Angela Goethals), are also hoping to break into some truly deep work to get their names out there. The slasher is no longer just a coming of age for the teen survivors, but for everyone involved.
Frequent readers will know that I dislike found footage/documentary style movies, but in the case of Behind the Mask, the documentary footage is mostly complimentary rather than obnoxious to me. It does a good job of capturing little moments that are often lost with more traditional wide shot filming – and those little moments are critical to the story Behind the Mask builds.
In the end, this film is excellently balanced between blood and brains – providing the audience with both the gore of a generic slasher and also some food for though about the popular subgenre. Veteran horror fans will maybe get more out of it than the novice (including recognizing cameos from Robert Englund, Zelda Rubinstein, and Kane Hodder), but the substance and depth are easy for even the casual viewer to understand. Even if you don’t generally prefer slashers, you should give Behind the Mask a try.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: B+
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