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The Poughkeepsie Tapes
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The Poughkeepsie Tapes More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Mockumentary element worked better than the found footage.

Author: emma s from United Kingdom
7 August 2013

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a part mockumentary, part found footage film about the tracking of a serial killer, and the footage they found from his house.

I gave this this film a rather average 6 out of 10; although in terms of the genre, it is probably better than most out there. For me, the mockumentary elements surpassed the quality and interest of the found footage parts - the acting and scripting of the talking heads were of good quality, believable and added depth and intrigue to the plot.

However, I was expecting more horror from the 'found footage' elements of the film. While they were sinister and gory in part, they seemed to lack horror and suspense - especially as we are sold the story that the recording was a pivotal and essential element of his crime and motivation.

For me the highlight was the mockumentary interviews in the final scenes - they were well acted and scripted, and very genuine. The closing scene were also very good (and while not exactly a twist due to it being somewhat predictable) it was a very good conclusion, leaving the viewer with questions but still drawing the film to a close well.

Definitely worth a view if the genre is of interest to you - although if mockumentaries and FF are not of interest to you, you would probably be better off giving this a miss.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Scary doesn't always equal good.

Author: Maz Murdoch (asda-man) from United Kingdom
29 July 2013

I saw The Poughkeepsie Tapes on Youtube as the film is virtually impossible to find on DVD, thus the experience might've been slightly marred by the sub-par quality, especially as the film itself is constructed to look like an old camcorder. My feelings towards it are very mixed. Did the film scare me? Yes, it absolutely did. I didn't think that it would and I kept lying to myself that it wasn't scary, when in fact I was actually quite scared and I don't scare too easily. Yes, I watched it on my own in the middle of the night, but I do that with lots of horror films and they never usually scare me. When it was over as soon as I moved I chills crept up my spine and I kept thinking about it. It certainly disturbed me and got under my skin which is a good thing. There are some very, very effective scenes. In particular, the crawling scene which is exceptionally well done and the interview with Cheryl is very unsettling. I also loved the masks, they were really creepy, especially Cheryl's female Michael Myers mask.

However, was this film good? No, not overly. The first thing that struck me was the acting by the FBI people etc. they were very wooden which took the realism out of the film. They also had some very contrived lines to say such as, "My wife watched half an hour of the tapes and she couldn't touch me for a year." and, "If this gets to theatres, the killer will be watching regularly." This dialogue to me seemed like an over the top attempt to scare the audience, but it actually treats them like morons because we know it's not real and we know that the killer is not sitting next to us in the cinema... Mainly because the film didn't even reach cinemas which is actually a shame because it's still a lot better than a lot of films on currently.

There were also quite a few dull moments and little to no plot development. I know that it's supposed to be a mockumentary but there needs to be more to it than just watching a killer do sick things to people. Although a lot of the tapes did have some disturbing moments, like him talking to kids etc. this didn't really add much to the film. One of the more interesting and disturbing ideas was unfortunately glossed over, which was the killer's bizarre balloon fetish. There weren't enough insights like this to help us get to know the killer and I think this is important for a film focusing on a serial killer and is one reason why Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is so effective. However, the music was well done and unsettling, although sometimes the tapes could've been creepier without the music because it takes the realism away. Also, sometimes it was impossible to see what was going on thanks to the wobbly, washed-out image.

So all in all, it was an OK experience. I wasn't exactly bored, but it definitely needed more padding out. The directors' clearly have a lot of potential because they can craft some truly terrifying sequences, there just aren't really enough of them. There needs to be more to a film other than it just being scary, otherwise it just turns out dull, even though it did do scary very well. I liked how it was able to get under your skin and not rely on jump scares. It also surprisingly, didn't have much blood and gore, which I find impressive. I'd like to see a European or Asian remake (even though that would never happen) because I think that the film would be more focused if it was put into the hands of say, Kôji Shiraishi who directed the wonderful mockumentary, Noroi: The Curse which is just as scary as this film (probably even scarier) but also much better made. However, Poughkeepsie is a film that I would recommend, especially if you want a good scare.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A little sloppy but amusing...

Author: ghosthardware from Texas
22 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this film last night on the recommendation of a friend. I had never heard of it so I had no expectations going into it. My friend merely said it was "unpleasant to watch". Okay, I can go on that.

The format of the film is laid out like a true crime documentary. A 1 hr. 24 minute long episode of American Justice (sans Bill Kurtis), showing a series of found footage clips of the killer and his victims, interspersed with interviews with law enforcement, victims families, etc. The acting, while not necessarily bad, is acceptable. There were some victims who were more convincing than others. The actress who played Cheryl Dempsey had probably the most screen time of any of the other victims and while I felt she did a decent job, I found another victim with much less screen time to be much more convincing. Her scene arrives about 1 hr. 8 min. into the film and is probably the creepiest scene in the whole movie for me.

The level of gore is pretty low here, with just a few quick grainy scenes of severed limbs, a body on a table, some aggressive hacking and sawing and whatnot. I found the implied violence to be somewhat effective. The combination of the grainy, distorted footage, the exaggerated blackness that occurs with such poor video quality and the sounds coming from the victims all created a chilling effect, with your imagination filling in what you can't actually see.

What kept me from being totally absorbed by this film was how sloppy and mashed together everything seemed. It was as though ideas were snagged from all over the serial killer universe and smashed together to create the "ultimate serial killer" who encapsulates traits from almost every classification of serial killer known to man. He can even frame a cop (the hokiest premise in the whole film), all the while staying anonymous. In order to create this enigmatic killer, ideas are borrowed from all over the spectrum, such as Leonard Lake/Charles Ng, Bundy, the Black Dahlia murder, Jack the Ripper, Maury Travis, BTK killer, Richard Cottingham, David Parker Ray and even the killer from Se7en. In addition, since the killer is never really seen (except in costume) and mainly heard, I really wanted to be creeped out by his voice. I would feel a chill when he would be speaking to his unknowing victims in that nice guy normal voice, luring them into his trap. But when it came time for the actor to really put the crazy hat on, his efforts fell short for me. The maniacal high pitched machine gun giggle is a bit too cliché.

The found video footage further pulled me out of the experience because some of them were so dark, grainy and/or distorted (including the audio) that it's almost impossible to tell what's going on. Filler? Overall, I felt the film was fairly entertaining. There were certainly several moments that were genuinely creepy. The first video we see of Jennifer Gorman's abduction serves as a chilling, shocking opener. While it isn't graphic, I found the implication truly disconcerting. However, there were so many ideas thrown together for this film and this killer that the end result felt incohesive, overstuffed and sloppy. The upside to this is that nobody has to pay a dime to see this film since the only place to view it is on YouTube. It's relatively short in runtime, easy to find, easy to stream and free. Not too shabby. 6/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

We have a keeper!

Author: elizabeth-carlyh from Brisbane AU
13 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After contemplating what Id be sitting alone to watch, how disturbing this would actually be, and as a Mock Documentary I was very apprehensive to watch 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes'.

I cant say this was the most disturbing, or scariest movie i have seen, although while watching, had me looking back over my shoulder a few times.

The story was just a tad over the top from the start, the acting from the reporters, at the beginning and a few other minor characters, spoiled the reality.

Otherwise I felt the acting was entertaining, especially the case officers and teacher whom were interesting, humorous and real.

There was a few unanswered questions, which tends to bother me, and the 'tapes' were sometimes just too blurry to get the full effect of what was really happening, I'm still guessing?

I couldn't miss a second and had to rewind if I happen to look away. I found it clever, it kept going- the end was further than expected.

This is one of those films I loved, one I can't wait to tell my friends about, but follow with 'you may think its silly'.

For those who can leave work at home, I would say its a keeper!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This movie really good chilling moment also as really silly moments,

Author: atinder from United Kingdom
3 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)

I have tried watch a number of times before, I could never really get into the movie and again I saw half of it yesterday and I saw the last half of it today.

It did take me while to get in this movie, I do like the video being balloons at times and there was some good tense and chilling moment in this movie.

If wasn't for the really poor acting from most of the cast and some scripts sounded a little to fake (I would Easily believed this was real) however it NOT real and I know that.

I Thought did have powerfully story and some good chilling moment in this movie, that might make you thing, the next you see stranger.

Small spoiler I found is bit silly for Killer to go and see the mother of the girl He Kidnapped only for mother not doing anything knowing he was kidnapper

It was really some- what entertaining. 6/10 Good movie

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Low Expectations, Good Film

Author: Anthony Robert Hufford from Englewood, Ohio
3 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My expectations were pretty low before I viewed this, but I was surprised at the great effort they put together to produce this documentary. At first, I saw this movie on a YouTube app and could not read the description. After doing some research today, I found out it was fake, I admit I was a little disappointed. This guy would make a very interesting psychological case study. Of the entire film that I found most interesting was the Cheryl Dempsey character. After her rescue from the Butcher, the evident fact that she had Stockholm Syndrome was very sad. Just the fact that she could not live in a world without pain and suffering, and her enduring affection to her master.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Sit through the mediocre execution for a chilling story.

Author: Abderrahman Loutfi from Lebanon
1 November 2012

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is more creepy and disturbing than it is actually horrifying. What the film lacks in gore and blood it makes up with its main character's perversion and lunacy; a point worth appreciating.

Although documentary-style fiction films are nothing new, especially in the horror genre, this film manages to pull off some genuinely unnerving moments that linger. The story and the main character are intriguing enough without all the blood and guts. Mr. Dowdle managed to create a truly disturbed murderer whose effect on the viewer is intensified by subtly keeping his identity hidden and his fate unknown; think Blair Witch but with a depraved criminal instead. As the facts and stories accumulate fear of the stone-cold killer intensifies as we get to know him through the victims he filmed, becoming more and more deranged with each crime. This is one of the few films that grip you because of the unsettling mystery not horrific imagery.

That being said, the overall quality of the film is questionable. The camera technique and movement are quite amateur which is made more unappealing by the intended tape damage throughout most of the film. Yet this little turn-off is easily adjustable once you get to grips with the murderer's journey. There are some missing facts intended to make the mystery deeper which can be seen as plot holes but in such a film, less is more.

In short, if you can get past the seemingly low-budget execution you will be rewarded with a new perspective of the limits of derision.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very creepy and entertaining!

Author: eddiebrock32 from New York, , United States
22 October 2012

Now this movie I see most complaining about the acting or such but I am a real horror critic and I think this movie had an element of creepiness to it. I like to put myself in the shoes of the people and get a better understanding which is why this freaked me out I mean having someone like that in your neighborhood is very unsettling to me. I am the type that likes documentary based things so this came as quite a good film to me as it depicted a sporadic killer in a believable story. This is something to give a watch just to see a different side of things. If you like realistic things I suggest giving this a watch because although loosely based off of many cases it is true that these people exist in the world that give us these stories to go on.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Chilling Pseudo-Documentary is Successful

Author: Alex Shaffer (ax105)
21 October 2012

Wow, what to say about this film. It is by far one of the better "found footage" movies out there and fits the psychological niche well as well. So, without further ado, I will break it down into a short pros and cons list.

Pros: -Deeply disturbing movie, strikes all the wrong chords is all of the wrong ways. -Has some truly awful scenes that will stick with you long after the credits roll. -Fascinating and believable performances by all involved, especially the killer himself. -Suspension of disbelief is excellent, makes you think that the movie is instructional viewing for FBI, or a dark documentary. -Twisted ending. Truly awful.

Cons: -There is an extremely annoying amount of "VHS tape" effect laid over the video. The found footage is horrifying, but almost annoying and distracting due to the shaking video and scrolling distortion lines. -Not a movie for the passive horror or psychological thriller fan. Has some very intense and awful moments that will deeply affect the uninitiated. -Struggles with pacing in some scenes. -Twisted ending. Truly awful.

Bottom line, do not go into this movie expecting a bland horror film. This is a deeply disturbing movie without a happy ending, and a harsh kick in the teeth. If you are prepared for a different kind of psychological terror, then this is for you. In all honesty, I wish I had watched something happy instead.

Effective film, but not one that I would want to ever watch again. 7/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Creepy concept

Author: hedgehogmomma from United States
24 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was interesting because of the way it was made,it is from a murderers pov with first person camera.the victims are very realistic and the attack scenes are creepy.I liked how they cut form the cam footage to interviews with detectives and give more details about what happens,they make it creepy.The woman in the end of the film was very convincing and left me in awe,she was so very traumatized by this evil person after being captured and tortured, she thinks he loves her......and is completely mentally unstable...that one of the most creepy parts of the film.I did not like how much the killer talked while taunting but thats a small complaint.this was a OK film,not the best iv seen but got the job done of being kind scary.the pov of the killer was the best part.

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