Uneven but unsettling and worthwhile.
I'm fascinated by serial killers. There's no denying that might say something unflattering about either myself or the society I am a part of, but that's how it is. The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a movie about a serial killer, but not your typical such. Instead, the movie revolves around the eponymous tapes, collected after a particularly nasty serial killer case in Poughkeepsie, NY. The film itself sets out to be a Mockumentary-style
tale, resembling in part the sort of serial killer documentary one might find on The Discovery Channel if one is lucky a late night, but there's a couple of things with this presentation that bugged me a little. First one is that the movie is fond of throwing screens of static and some static sound at a rather high volume while switching from interviews with the various experts and people related to the killings to material from the tapes. I realize they should have some kind of mark for transition, which doesn't exactly strike me as professional TV material. Also, it feels like a first rough cut sometimes, thanks to some shots obviously beginning or ending before they should.
The acting is a bit so-so, but there's some good moments here and there. All in all it's a bit like Paranormal Activity
, in that it kind of draws you in, and once you're in there... well. The Poughkeepsie Tapes definitely is a scary movie. You'd think a movie like this would really wallow in gore, but there's not really much of it. There's a little, but most of the time, the movie relies on the sheer brutality of the kills and torture actually shown, it sort of reminds me of Man Bites Dog
in that respect, in the way it holds the scenes in length and not relenting on the violence shown. The killer has a sort of über-BDSM
kind of thing going for him, and I think those scenes might be extra disturbing for us on the other side of the spectrum
of that particular fetish, but I digress. The movie also tries to describe brutality through witnesses or CSIs of various kinds. Some times it works really well, while other times, it comes off as more of a Bloody Hilarious
-kind of thing, which I'm guessing
wasn't intentional. Overall, I'd say The Poughkeepsie Tapes is worth a check if you're into horror mockumentaries, but don't be surprised if it creeps you out.