The Poughkeepsie Tapes ★★★½

“I’m the Butcher.”
-Ed (Ben Messmer)

Film 20 of 35 of The Found Footage/Mockumentary Project.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is shot in the fashion of a serial killer documentary, and follows the aftermath of New York murder investigators uncovering hundreds of tapes showing decades of a serial killer's work. The killer’s story is dissected by professionals from all fields, with footage from the tapes shown too. In its entirety, the film is very mixed in terms of quality. Some parts are excellent, others quite abysmal, but is fairly good when taken as a whole.

The acting also varies in quality, but given that there are so many parts, that’s to be expected. I thought for the most part the killer himself and lead actress Stacy Chbosky were fine, delivering convincing performances throughout. The way the relationship between the two concludes is wonderfully chilling.

It has a number of haunting scenes stashed away, though, and considering the shoestring budget is fairly well-made. Okay, so the area’s filmed by the killer himself are horrendous to look at, but they do manage to be quite disturbing, as well they should. Overall, it does enough to salvage itself from succumbing to its flaws, and is actually not bad at all.

VERDICT; Not too shabby for a low budget film, though I definitely wouldn’t classify this as horror. Whilst it does have horrifying scenes aplenty, it plays out much more like the documentary it seeks to imitate, and that’s no bad thing at all. Constantly creepy and unsettling, The Poughkeepsie Tapes knows the extent of its budget, but takes it for all it’s worth.
3.5/5 or 7/10

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