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The Poughkeepsie Tapes Photos

Movie Info

Hundreds of video tapes of torture, murder and dismemberment show a killer's decadelong reign of terror.

Cast & Crew

Stacy Chbosky
Cheryl Dempsey
Ivar Brogger
Leonard Schway
Lou George
Felton Lewis
Amy Lyndon
Alice Endrisart
Ron Harper
Mike Moakes
Ward Barnett
Executive Producer
Stephen Chbosky
Executive Producer
Drew Dowdle
Executive Producer
Patrick Lussier
Executive Producer
Keefus Ciancia
Original Music
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Critic Reviews for The Poughkeepsie Tapes

All Critics (6) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Poughkeepsie Tapes

  • Jan 09, 2013
    Started off interesting but just becomes way too messed up, even for a serial killer movie.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 25, 2012
    As far as documentary, found footage horror films are concerned, The Poughkeepsie Tapes doesn't offer anything new. I found that this was a bit of a letdown. However I did somewhat enjoy it, but there's really nothing to add in the genre. This film is a collection of things we've seen time and time again, thus it becomes cliché after cliché. The material here is derivative from Blair Witch Project and there are plenty of opportunities to steer the film in a good direction, however it falls short. The film is decent, but is quite forgettable in the long run. Acting wise, there are no real standout performances and it's standard low-budget acting, so don't expect anything good with that as well. This film has the misfortune of having been made when found footage films started to be hit and miss. This is a decent little flick, but it could have been much better than what it turned out to be. The concept is good and it's a shame that they couldn't deliver a more solid film because of it. The ingredients were there, but it lacked something to truly make this one stand out in the genre. Overall, it's decent, but it's nothing original, thrilling or exciting. The directors clearly don't know how to create a tense, suspenseful horror film, and it leaves a lot to be desired from the final; product. A decent film, but nothing ever special, The Poughkeepsie Tapes could have been much better. Compared to other films in this genre, this one doesn't do anything to truly elevate the genre into new, unexplored territory.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2012
    One of the best serial killer movies I have seen. Using the documentary style of film making to great effect, a chilling and at times horrifying look at a how this guy does what he does and gets away with it. So much better than so many crappy teen slasher movies.
    Stuart B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 08, 2011
    Before remaking the Spanish horror gem <i>[Rec]</i> for Hollywood audiences (in the form of 2008's lousy <i>Quarantine</i>), director John Erick Dowdle helmed another "found footage" horror movie: <i>The Poughkeepsie Tapes</i>. Completed in 2007 but not released until 2009 (and only in a very limited capacity), the picture aspires to feel like an authentic documentary and was visibly designed to be the next <i>Blair Witch Project</i>. Unfortunately, it's an utter failure - <i>The Poughkeepsie Tapes</i> is never believable enough due to awful acting, obviously scripted dialogue, and restrictions of a low budget. It's a testament to the film's awfulness that, in 2008, its trailer was tagged in front of major theatrical releases and posters were prominently displayed at cinemas, but no release date was ever given and it ultimately faded into obscurity. <i>The Poughkeepsie Tapes</i>' concept and premise is loaded with potential, but the resultant feature is underwhelming and unenjoyable - it's not scary or terrifying, nor is it very chilling. <p> The <i>Poughkeepsie Tapes</i> is a faux documentary which recounts the story of a serial killer based in Poughkeepsie, New York who terrorised the local community for over ten years. A killer who constantly changed his modus operandi, he managed to continuously elude police as they were unable to recognise that all of his murders were the work of the same man. Eventually, the killer - dubbed 'The Water Street Butcher' - slipped up, and SWAT teams found his abandoned residence, along with a huge library of ancient VHS tapes containing footage of him torturing and murdering his victims. Extended interviews with FBI agents, police officers, as well as friends and family of the victims is shown throughout, interweaved with clips from the killer's video library that shows us exactly what this disturbed individual did with his victims. <p> The first problem with <i>The Poughkeepsie Tapes</i> rears its head in the very first scene. We're meant to believe that this is a professionally-edited documentary, but the film opens with an outtake of someone asking "<i>Are you filming?</i>". This type of stuff may be suitable in films like <i>[Rec]</i> which are meant to be unedited, but it's forced and out-of-place here. Another key issue is that the film's minuscule budget is too often obvious. Sure, the tapes are meant to look as if they were filmed with poor quality consumer camcorders, but gore is often awkwardly eschewed, which just gives the impression of lazy filmmaking. The interviews lead us to believe these tapes are disturbing, but they're for the most part incomprehensible. And what can be seen of the torturing and killing is badly acted and badly directed - a typical <i>CSI</i> episode is more shocking. Worse, the effects laid over the VHS footage to make it look dated seems incredibly forced. The effect just doesn't work - you're meant to believe what you're watching and find it chilling... But the tapes never seem real, are ugly to watch, and are not imbued with any degree of tension. <p> Director John Erick Dowdle (who wrote the script with his brother) also falters in the talking-head interviews, a lot of which feel <i>incredibly</i> phoney. One of the main issues is that the lines seem very scripted, which drains believability from the picture. Even worse is the archive footage of press conferences, news reports and court proceedings which are stiff and flat - you cannot suspend your disbelief for over a second. The acting, too, is primarily off the mark, and the performances lack credibility. <i>The Poughkeepsie Tapes</i> is, in a nutshell, a muddled mess from top to bottom that's unable to conjure up any worthwhile moments of intensity or horror, which is the worst sin any horror movie can commit. <p> To the credit of the picture, however, it has a few bright spots. Ron Harper is the only interviewee with any degree of charm and believability (perhaps due to his veteran acting status), and his segments seem somewhat real. Keefus Ciancia's accompanying score is also competent enough to make for at least a few engaging moments. But at the end of the day, <i>The Poughkeepsie Tapes</i> is a missed opportunity; a frequently drab horror movie that's unable to fulfil basic genre requirements. As of 2011, the movie is only available on DVD exclusively through Blockbuster, and copies are not readily available. This is for the best.
    Cal ( Super Reviewer

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