|release date||November 30 2008|
|director||John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle|
|writer||John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle|
|starring||Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer, Samantha Robson|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
Tonight the Tribeca Film Festival hosted the world premiere of John Erick Dowdle’s THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES, a new breed of horror film based on true events. Although far from perfect, this indie film has some seriously creepy and bizarre moments that are sure to elevate this one to cult classic status.
Throughout the 1990s, a serial killer terrorized upstate New York. After a decade-long crime spree conducted largely under the radar of law enforcement, the killer left behind the most disturbing collection of evidence homicide detectives had ever seen hundreds of homemade videotapes that chronicle the stalking, abduction, murder, and disposal of his victims.
This day and age it’s becoming more and more difficult to be original when making a movie, which is why the trend seems to be moving into blending ideas from various older films into a new sub-genre. POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES has become a new breed of horror, as it’s a perfect blend of two groundbreaking horror films, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and HOSTEL. One portion of the movie follows newscasters reporting from the scenes of the crimes; another has an old detective teaching a class about the murderer; and the other are actual clips from the murderer’s tape collection.
What makes this one of the best indie films this year are the sequences shot by the killer, they look is grainy, blurry and ultra-realistic. If someone showed me these scenes from the film and told me they were real, I might have actually believed them. Dowdle shot them brilliantly leaving a lot of the violence off screen thus enhancing your imagination (although there is some violent scenes that are raw and intense). As the film progresses what the killer does gets more and more odd, violent and painful to watch; he kills children, tortures women and plays weird bondage games. Ultimately these sequences are the essence of POUGHKEEPSIE and the reason why I will probably watch it another 100 times.
The only failing point to John Dowdle’s film are some of the actors in the documentary portion of the film, which is excruciatingly bad at times. There are two specific actors who drove me up the wall every single time they were on screen… the FBI-profiler and the video tech who watched all the tapes. Thank God Dowdle cut away from most of their scenes and did a voice over with creepy images instead.
Ignoring the minor flaws in the film it was still a fabulously entertaining experience that unfolds perfectly. I loved the development of the story as I felt like I was watching Crime Files on Court TV (one of my all-time favorite shows); I loved how the story escalated and got even more bizarre with each passing moment; I love the fact that they catch the wrong guy and sentence him to death; and most of all I loved how they wrap up the movie with one of the killer’s torture victims.
THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES isn’t going to be the indie horror movie of the year and some of you might not even like it, but in the end I think it’s got potential to become a cult classic that gets aspiring filmmakers thinking in a new way – this could become an important film. Even though it wasn’t realistic enough, I still thought the movie was incredible and can’t wait to see it again. When POUGHKEEPSIE hits it’s mark, it’s dead on; the movie is scary, creepy, unnerving, bizarre and very uncomfortable to watch. Get ready for an experience like none other and make sure you give Dowdle’s experiment the chance it deserves, many of you will be pleasantly surprised.