The Poughkeepsie Tapes is one of my favourite horror movies. Directed and written by brothers John and Drew Dowdle, The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a “found footage” film, told in a faux-documentary style.
Centring on the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, a stash of over eight-hundred disturbing video tapes of torture and murder from a serial killer’s decade long reign of terror have been discovered in an abandoned house. The audience is presented with interviews of FBI officials, psychologists, police offers, victims’ parents, and much more. Every so often, the clips are punctuated by a videotape itself, showing one of the killers’ acts of torment or assault on one or more of his victims.
As the film progresses, things become deeper, more intriguing, and inevitably, more and more engrossing. Images and sequences increasingly become exceptionally haunting. The profile of the killer constantly changes as officials confess they have no idea who it is. Even wrongly naming an innocent man.
The lead actress, Stacy Chboksky (Devil, Quarantine), who portrayed Cheryl Dempsey did a brilliant job with her role. Her scenes once she was found were amazing and I found myself enthralled by her acting.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes occupies more than just mindless snuff, but depth and an efficient backstory. The degree of realism is impeccable and was achieved without the pretentious “based on a true story” tagline.
A lot of thought, time and effort has gone into the making of The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and overall I personally enjoyed it a lot. I recommend it highly. However, the film has yet to find US distribution and given its age, it’s tough to say if it ever will. Boo! Would love this on DVD!