A chillingly effective documentary. A documentary that delves into what happens when the ghost stories you told as kids, the stuff of urban legends, seem to come true. Begins as the documentation of a terrible legend, but evolves into a true story of a monster, and that's what makes Cropsey downright frightening. Cropsey is a creepy documentary with all the elements of a horror film about a demented serial killer, and an extra ingredient: This one is real. Cropsey is compelling as a meditation on how we use stories to explain the inconceivable, and how if no story is handy, we take the available clues and make one up. The film is eerie and thought-provoking, raising worthwhile questions about the pursuit of justice without losing compassion for the victims or their families. Whether they're interviewing so-called experts or casual observers -- or even reading from Rand's letters -- Zeman and Brancaccio confront fear, disappointment, and hope, again and again. The filmmakers overreach trying to explain the meaning of a community's revulsion and rush to judgment regarding the man convicted of one of the murders, but Cropsey still gets under your skin. It isn't a pleasant journey -- nor one that is likely to be soon forgotten -- though it is a sobering, skillfully produced reminder that sometimes fact can be far more terrifying than fiction.
VERDICT: "High-Quality Stuff" - [Positive Reaction] This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent. (Films that are rated 3.5 or 4 stars)