Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Poughkeepsie Tapes Might be Best Left on Video Store Shelves

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The "Waterstreet Butcher," disguises himself as a police officer and preys on the local women in the neighbourhood, mostly hookers. While going about his grisly deeds this anonymous killer videotapes each and every victim before he tortures, murders, and then rapes his victims. A fan of necrophilia the "Waterstreet Butcher," becomes one of the most gruesome killers in history and the subject of a gruesome documentary.

Rating: Restricted for sadistic violence and torture, including terror and graphic descriptions.

Release Date: January 2, 2009.

Starring: Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer, Samantha Robson, Ivar Brogger, Lou George, Amy Lyndon, Ron Harper, and Kim Kenny.

Director: John Erick Dowdle.

Writers: Drew Dowdle, and John Erick Dowdle.

*Forewarning here be spoilers*

The pseudo-documentary "Poughkeepsie Tapes," uses an unsteady camera and sometimes a handheld camera to tell the fictitious tale of the "Waterstreet Butcher." Much of the acting in this film comes across as laughable with characters standing in front of various shaky cameras in tears, shock, or anger and immediately most viewers will recognize the lack of genuineness. Low budget and independent, initially until receiving a pick up from MGM distributors the "Poughkeepsie Tales," is receiving a wide release, but the quality of the film is low grade horror. Slightly similar to other shaky camera films i.e. "The Blair Witch Project," and less so "Cloverfield," the only time this film really works is when the killer torments several of his victims in a remote basement, all while the camera rolls.

The "Poughkeepsie Tapes," attempts to come across as horror, yet the poor acting, low quality filming, and lack of any effects make the film seem amateurish and comical. Where the film attempts to seem scary or suspenseful many viewers might find themselve laughing at the seriousness of the film. Possibly, some rehearsal for the actors might have given the film a higher quality feel plus a focus more on the killer and his handheld camera, which generate the few scares in the film could have been beneficial. Also, reducing the comedic outtakes of actors talking as if in a documentary while adding darker lighting could really have given this film more of a boost. Finally, a more haunting musical score could have given the "Poughkeepsie Tapes," a more haunting tone or appeal; the whimsical, light notes of the soundtrack really do not suit a horror film.

A very middle of the road horror flick that attempts to make itself appear as a documentary comes across somewhat poorly. Made by a second time writer and director this film seems to be a testing of the waters for John Erick and Drew Dowdle. The idea for the "Poughkeepsie Tales," comes across as creative, it is the execution that seems to slightly fail. With no jump out of your seat scares and a very low level of suspense throughout, the film is difficult to recommend; on the other hand, the "Poughkeepsie Tapes," is not a complete write-off and might be a starting point for writers John Erick and Drew Dowdle to produce more quality horror pictures.

5 Screaming Skulls out of 10.

"Poughkeepsie Tapes," trailer:

Sources: The Poughkeepsie Tapes at IMDB Stumble It!

1 comments:

Andre said...

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