Truth be told, a serial killer mockumentary has been done before and with great effect in Man Bites Dog. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a little more tongue-in-cheek than that modern classic, and it's a decently good time, too. As in Dog, here we have a camera crew following around murderer Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel). Only rather than in gritty reality, Leslie lives in a pseudo-real-pseudo-movie-world where Jason Voorhees and Freddy are actual people. We catch up with Leslie as he plans his comeback, having been vanquished long ago, which will occur in a spooky farmhouse full of co-eds and jocks, with macabre methods of impaling and otherwise dispatching his victims being planned.
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As Polish-mob hit-man Frank Falenczyk (pronounced Fail-an-chik), Kingsley has the most fun he's had onscreen since he muttered a red-streak as the frenzied madman Don Logan in Jonathan Glazer's superb Sexy Beast. This time, his gangster-take has a more reserved and subdued nature, playing more for deadpan hilarity than ballistic scares. That deadpan ability serves Frank best when he's banished from his New York home to San Francisco for botching a job after too many drinks. His boss (Philip Baker Hall) has had enough of his alcoholism, and his best friend (Marcus Thomas) can't help him any more. So, it's off to the Bay for him.
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The idea here is that our central characters (including all of the above, plus one guy who breaks his own hand so he can relive his Best Christmas Ever as he did as a kid in the E.R.) have problems. You know, New Yorker problems: Walker is a jealous cop (and Cruz is his flirtatious girlfriend), and Sarandon's geriatric mother is an a sort of dazed funk -- just staring at the walls, refusing to eat. Sarandon is the centerpiece of the film: She's a mopey creature who's faced endless disaster in her life (a stillborn baby, even), but she's trying to keep up appearances.
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Suffice it to say that Drowning Mona is a bad film. It is a very bad film. Let us count the ways.
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