February 17, 2009

Solo Review: The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2009)

Sub-Genre- Serial Killer, Found Footage.
Cast Members of Note- Bobbi Sue Luther, and Stacy Chbosky.
Directed by- John Erick Dowdle, who would go on to helm films like Devil, Quarantine, and As Above, So Below.

A bunch of inept Cops and "experts" participate in a Documentary about the worst Serial Killer the world has ever known... Ed! At least they think that's his name, though they're so inept that they don't have so much as one clue about him, even after he leaves them hundreds of videotapes of his crimes. Could they not run the make of his car? Was there seriously not one print or molecule of DNA in his house, or at any of the crime scenes?

Inept Police Work aside, Ed sure knows how to have fun; making whores pop balloons while dressed in bikinis, raping random kids and women, terrifying innocent Girl Scouts, taking advantage of the kindness of strangers... and he tapes it all for posterity's sake. And for the sake of love, apparently, which is something he desperately wants to find.

Hey Ed, this is not was love is.
Interviews, footage, interviews, footage, interviews, footage... I won't spoil the ending for you here, because it's so shocking, but let's just say that they never catch him. *It's Found Footage, no one ever gets caught.

...but plenty of people die!
Before even having seen this one, I loved the premise; Police find hundreds of video tapes belonging to a prolific local Serial Killer, each of them documenting his crimes in graphic detail. Now having actually seen it, this movie contains some absolutely disturbing scenarios and imagery, courtesy of said tapes, and if you can lose yourself in the Found Footage aspect of things, then you're in for a chilling ride.

Chloroform: The Stranger Picker Upper.
The acting in this was 50/50; some of it was decent and believable, and felt Documentary-like, but most of the rest of it was poor to bad, and even seemed ad-libbed at times. Then again, the script was pretty poor in places too; a good example of this is when a frantic mother calls 911 to say she thinks someone took her 8-year-old daughter, the 911 operator responds with "Like who?" in an uncaring, dismissive voice. Sub-par acting along with a script that needed to be a bit tighter, keeps this one from being the true Modern-day Classic that it could have been.

Overall though, this was a disturbing and creepy movie, that most people will find completely effective.

This looks like our porn collection.
Did the filmmakers think that obscuring the look of the killer's videos made them look more real? The footage was at times so horribly distorted, that we wondered if Ed had magnets in his pockets or something. I've never seen a worse camcorder in my life.

Is he adjusting the tracking?
Do you have to mess with the kids, Mr. Creepy Rape-Kill guy? I mean, all the Girl Scouts want to do is to sell their cookies, and make enough money for their Troop to go to camp "I'll be a whore someday," not be tortured and killed in terrible ways by you. You sir, are disturbing.

"Thin Mints please! Also, 2 boxes of Tagalongs. Also, I'm going to make you pass away with a knife."
There's not much gore in this one, but we do get a little bit of blood here and there. This movie is really more about disturbing visuals, rather than graphic violence, which is fine with us.

Like that right there? We get the point.
Dead hooker boobs.

"Pop it!" or "To be honest, I don't think either of us are gonna want you alive for the things I'm going to do to you."

Avoid nice guys with video cameras. Also, BDSM is scary.

Why did they not market and sell these masks? We'd buy one.
I have a feeling people will either love The Poughkeepsie Tapes, or downright hate it. Some things in this movie really, really worked well, while others fell a bit flat. I say see it; like The Blair Witch Project, it's an interesting Found Footage effort at the very least, and an awesomely disturbing movie at the most. That all depends on if the premise sucks you in or not though.


The Poughkeepsie Tapes is available on DirecTV's On Demand service now.

Bobby Sue Luther is in this.


  1. Where did you get to see this? I've been waiting to see this ever since I saw the preview in the theatre over a year ago.

  2. i enjoyed this movie. didn't have me on edge like "megan is missing" but it was pretty creepy.

  3. Definitely a creepy movie Anon.

    And for those that still may want to know, you can rent this through online VOD sites like Blockbuster.