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I have to start off by saying that I am an avid horror/gore movie fan.
From big Hollywood to cult classics. This film had potential, the story
was interesting and honestly the script was passable. The acting
however is so bad that it was painful for me to watch it to its end.
The actors over-act, the directors tries to do a little to much in some
scenes... which does ruin any potentially horrific scene. It is
honestly these little extra efforts that- in my opinion, turn this film
from B movie to a terrible attempt at a true Hollywood horror movie
type. One thing this director should of done is just kept things
simple. Less characters: too many FBI agents, "professionals" and other
characters that simply get lost and are forgettable ( is there really a
need for 3 news reporters?). Unecassary dialog: when the "killer" tapes
his basement/dungeon scenes, he simply talks to much to his victims-
the way the actor speaks his lines and the dialog ruin these hopeful
gruesome scenes. "What is your name?....Slave is your name" too cliché
in my opinion. I do agree about the awful quality of the tapes from a
supposed meticulous serial killer- even cameras on cell phones took
better videos in those days. Another thing that is laughable is the use
of 3 real life reporters- HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE acting and
pointless. The way one of the reporter stands in front of the crime
scene/house is exactly the same despite it being two different news
reports. The way she holds her mic and stands is the same and just
looks awfully funny. All the way down to bystanders walking in the
background during interviews looks fake- a few of these "actors"
couldn't even act a simple background walkthrough without making it
The IDEA of this film was great.It could of been a decent film, with: 1- much less characters, 2- More simplisitic dialog, 3- simplifying the scenes ( no need for so many cheesy props - overuse of police car lights, police tapes,etc). Its these little things that made me cringe so many times during this movie. But overall the bad acting will be something everyone will notice it for me. If you can get past the horrible acting and cliché dialog you will find this to be an interesting story. Just so many unfortunates.
Rather than a cheesy rip off or mindless moronic gorefest this film
takes a terrifying concept and gives it a body. The effects are
slightly low budget and but very powerful when combined with the
psychological effects of the story. Without going into detail,
somethings are slightly off and open small holes or just seem pointless
altogether. But they are few and far between. "Ed" the Killer is
portrayed very well as a psychopath with sociopathic tendencies.
The torture videos themselves are not nearly as disturbing as the underlying theme that someone could actually do this. A real breath of fresh air in a genre that seems to be nothing more than retreads of the same garbage. The blood is minimal and the film relies on the tone to frighten and disturb the viewers. It really is a shame that this film didn't make mainstream.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That's how bad it is. First movie I ever turned off halfway through.
This isn't even remotely scary, as you're watching from the killer's
viewpoint at all times. Being scared, for me, means you don't know what
the hell is going on until it's too late, and knowing at all times what
the killer is doing, I was never disturbed, ever.
It doesn't help that the killer is portrayed as super-meticulous, yet like another reviewer pointed out, it all seems a bit random, like he's lucky to not get caught.
This movie ruined my one movie night of the week, for which I would like to give a middlefinger salute to the people that made this.
This film goes to proof how a movie about killing, torturing and mutilating people in fact can be boring when there are no brains behind it. Graphic descriptions and exaggerated sickness is far from enough for a horror to be scary. This movie constantly tries to convince me that I am scared and repulsed by repeating how sick and disturbing it is. But I do not want a movie to tell me I am disturbed, I want to feel it myself. This is another example of how sometimes the attempt to make the story seem real actually has the opposite effect it is so unrealistically exaggerated that you start doubting in everything it claims. Mockumentary worked for The Blair Witch Project and Rec (of course the Spanish one) but it's getting really old and obviously does not always have the desired effect. I was constantly asking myself what is the point of this picture? Is it to make me aware that there are a lot of serial killers in the USA? Is it to show me how to make a homemade snuff or that if I plan carefully and change my M.O., I can kill as long as I want? I can tolerate pure entertainment if it is nicely done. This movie is not and therefore is completely worthless.
Ah, that's much better. I was just going to write "this movie sucks" in
the subject line but I thought something that resembled the actual
title would work better. Honestly I think this is a better title and
more fitting title.
Okay, story about found tapes that consist of the murders and torture of The....Waterstreet? The Watersomething Butcher. Have professionals and other schmucks talk about the tapes, the motive of the killer and other boring crap. That's it pretty much. Watch disturbing footage of the killer and listen to bums.
I call the people schmucks and bums because I'm talking about their acting skills. The acting in this movie is awful. This flick and the Blair Witch type way they try to make you believe what you're watching is real, failed miserably. There isn't a second of this movie where the writing or acting succeeds. Right from the get go, if you have any clue whatsoever in what you're watching, you'll realize it's fake. And that is where the movie needed to succeed. But it wasn't even slightly believable and thus, the movie turned into a major turd sandwich.
I do have to admit I enjoyed the way the killer would talk to his soon-to-be victims. It was calm and friendly and kinda silly. So that was a good thing. Also, I do have to give credit where credit is due. It's pretty clear that the makers really did try to make a legit pseudo documentary flick. So nice job at trying to make a good film. Just do a better job casting and directing your actors. And writing, that stunk too.
Sure I know I sound like a douche but when it comes down to horror flicks that create zero scares, zero chills, and flat-out zero horror, then I just gotta bash it. It boggles my mind that this flick had any type of hype surrounding it. Okay, enough of this stupid review, time to get back to Ren and Stimpy.
I was shocked when I heard that this film got picked up for distribution! I saw it at The Tribeca Film Festival last year, and felt totally cheated! I was lured in by an interesting premise in the film guide, but the writing and execution was very poor! Some of the acting was laughably bad. The worst part of all, was that in the Q&A after the film, the film maker and the lead actress were really arrogant and full of themselves! We just sat through their film which you'd call 'flawed' if you were feeling generous, and they were standing there literally calling themselves 'geniuses'. yuck! Please don't reward these folks with your hard earned money!!!
Wow! So much hype around this movie and it does NOT deliver. I've seen more gore, horror, scenes of torture and violence on regular television programs. The acting is awful. The plot line is unoriginal and VERY boring. If you've seen even a couple movies with a similar plot before, the Poughkeepsie tapes does not offer anything you haven't seen before. I would not consider this a horror movie, and it barely deserves the genuine title of 'Thriller/Suspense'. It's more of a dark drama or an Atmospheric Thriller. As for the good side of the movie, it has a few scenes that deserve credit and show that this movie 'had' potential. In a nutshell, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, is a typical serial-killer drama/thriller.
I looked forward to this movie for the better half of six months, so
when I finally got my hands on a copy I couldn't wait to be scared . .
. How disappointed I was.
Don't get me wrong, this film has its moments, there are genuinely terrifying scenes that are shot by the killer himself through his camcorder. But these are few and far between. In its place, we are 'treated' to documentary footage detailing the rise of this mad man and how incredibly smart he is, in addition to a sentimental love sub plot which is just bizarre and un-realistic (which makes no sense when the root of the horror lies in realism).
I expected so much form this movie and wanted to love it and embrace it much like I did REC, but when the quality of narrative is this lacking, it really isn't worth the time of day. What's more, it is incredibly frustrating to see what could have been, concentration on murder footage and less reliance on badly acted talking head segments.
If you like pure horror than stay well away form this sorry excuse. A waste of a brilliantly original idea.
Part of the found footage explosion that's been rapidly gaining
strength since Blair Witch Project, the Poughkeepsie Tapes is a rather
brutal, joyless film that has achieved a reputation for its vile,
disturbing content. Essentially, it's a combination of two genres: the
aforementioned found footage genre, and the pseudo-snuff genre, an
offshoot of "found footage" that attempts to emulate the style and
content of what a real snuff film would theoretically present.
Both genres had already run their course by the time of Poughkeepsie's release (especially pseudo-snuff, which didn't have a course to run from its onset), and as such, it doesn't really offer anything different from other hardcore horror entries. Most of the originality comes from its frame story, which is a Dateline-esque documentary on a serial killer in the Poughkeepsie area interspersed with footage the killer shot while torturing or kidnapping his victims. Any semblance of a story would revolve around the police's investigation of the killings (which doesn't really go anywhere until near the end of the movie) and the fate of one of his victims, a young woman who was kept as a sex slave.
Like all pseudo-snuff films, the film's sole intention is to disturb the viewer, which it succeeds on some levels; the killer's footage is brutal, fairly realistic, and does emulate the footage of real life serial killers rather well. It survives on psychological torture, refrains from excess gore which would shatter the illusion of realism, and so perverse as to keep the viewer's attention. Lacking a plot, however, the "found footage" wouldn't be enough to sustain itself as a movie (to which August Underground is a testament).
To fill the void, the "Dateline" scenario is presented, which fails miserably from bad acting, melodramatic presentation, and a conscious awareness that the investigators seem to be the most incompetent group of crime fighters ever assembled. Why would hacksaw patterns be the sole determining factor to keep a medical investigator from connecting the murders? Why is one FBI agent the only person to have viewed all of the footage? Such scenarios, and more, are presented in an attempt to sound well researched and credible, but mostly manages to fall flat on its face.
Nonetheless, it does hold onto some sense of flow and progression, which at least makes the movie watchable in between the (mostly) non-progressing scenes of carnage. Even so, the most curious part of the film is the fate of the killer's kidnapped sex slave, whose story is mostly depicted through the found footage. What surrounds that is hackneyed, albeit brutal and disturbing, footage that presents nothing new to extreme horror enthusiasts. For the uninitiated, however, this will be the most brutal film you'll see until you reach the age of 14, I'm sure.
First, this kind of mockumentaries with interviews never appealed to me. Second, this particular one is just absurd. I can't really imagine FBI agents casually revealing such information or the evidence the tapes are supposed to be. Third, what was supposed to be shocking and uncomfortable to watch, turned out to be just poorly made, sometimes even funny (in the ridiculous way). The quality of the recordings, intentionally bad, is actually SO bad that I don't think any serial killer with a serious approach would agree for such a shortcoming in his masterplan. After all we're supposed to get an impression that this murderer is like nothing the FBI has ever seen before, aren't we? Well, as much as I wanted to be crept out, I'm just slightly disgusted. Of course, the movie is kind of disturbing, but it's the same feeling you'd get while doing some reading on any actual serial killer. Heck, you'd be probably feeling much worse since the Poughkeepsie killer is fictional. Others are not.
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