Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon Movie Poster Image
Slasher film spoof has some clever twists.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

College TV crew follows a serial-killer-to-be in order to get a story; serial killers discuss their methods and goals; teen victims act stupidly; the Survivor Girl does the right thing.


Lots of bloody, visceral violence in the last third of the film (before that, plenty of discussions of and preparations for said violence). Weapons include knives, guns, and farm tools. Retired serial killer appears briefly in a sensory deprivation tank (like a coffin) buried underground. Serial killer wears scary makeup and mask and well as torn, bloody clothing, then appears repeatedly in shadows, posed to look frightening. Hacking and stabbing at victims (most of the murders are fast but very close-up). Girls scream, run, and fall.


Conversations about sexual behavior (trying to figure out if victims are virgins); a brief sex scene at the end shows a naked girl from the back and as she turns around (breasts visible and in motion); brief mention of the serial killer being "pro-life and a chauvinist."


Favorite swear word here is "f--k" other profanity includes "s--t," "bitch," "ass," "hell," and "goddammit." Phrases include a derogatory charge: "You guys stand here holding your balls."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink and smoke marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film includes the usual slasher-style violence -- stalking, stabbing, shooting, hooking with large farm implements -- as well as brief nudity and sexual activity (since sexually active teens are standard victims in such movies). There are lots of conversations about methods of killing people and the uses of "fear" in culture, some basic spooky scenes (dark shadows, creaky doors), and some jump scenes. Many bloody effects (dismemberments, bodies hidden in closets) and frequent profanity (mostly "f--k").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJk12345 June 14, 2017
Well, its not really bad compared to other slashers suggested rating R for strong horror violence, and some sexuality mainly should be able to watch 14+ if chil... Continue reading
Adult Written bywonder dove October 17, 2013

Not for me...

This movie wasn't how I thought it would be. I was expecting a fun, scary slasher flick but half of the film featured talking mainly and not much action un... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In Scott Glosserman's slasher parody BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) explains himself to a college TV news crew, including intrepid reporter Taylor (Angela Goethals), who keep asking questions about why Leslie and the monsters he emulates -- Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th), and Michael Myers (Halloween) -- feel the need to target nubile teens who scream and run and fall down in the dark.

Is it any good?

Older teens may be interested in this slasher film spoof, which isn't as goofy and action-packed as the Scream franchise but plays up the same idea. According to Behind the Mask, Leslie's desire to kill anonymous teens could be a sign of psychosis or a symptom of the culture that offers up imagery as entertainment. Wanting to be famous like his idols, Leslie manipulates the TV crew for maximum effect, understanding the interlocking of violence and media, spectacle and spectators. Clearly, Behind the Masks's shrewd parody is geared for viewers familiar with TV forensics lessons, Nancy Grace, and torture as (unacknowledged) wartime policy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the uses of parody. Does making fun of fears serve a different or similar purpose to acting them out straightforwardly, as in regular horror movies? How can you be scared and laugh at something at the same time? Families can also discuss the basic dynamics of the slasher movie formula. How do the predetermined character types -- the Survivor Girl, the Ahab, the Killer -- come together to make the scary formula work? Is this movie a successful spoof? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate