The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007 (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer, Samantha Robson
Rated: R/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Scream Factory
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 even seen – hundreds of homemade videotapes that chronicled the stalking, abduction, murder and disposal of his victims. The Poughkeepsie Tapes examines these horrific tapes at length: what they reveal about the killer, why they were made and how FBI profilers have used them to better understand violent, psychopathic behavior. The Poughkeepsie Tapes combines interviews surrounding the devastating impact of the “Water Street Butcher,” with shocking footage from the tapes themselves.
Ah, Poughkeepsie Tapes. I first covered this movie way back in the day on a podcast in 2012. Then, the movie had been in the can since 2007 but still hadn’t been released. Now here we are in 2017 and it is just now getting released from Scream Factory on Blu-ray. It has been a long road for the film and while I don’t think it is a bad movie, I also don’t think the movie will able to live up to the most the hype it has gained in all the years people had been waiting for a release. One good thing about this film is it didn’t just go the normal route of trying to come across as being legit. It goes the route of being a documentary, which seems to more times than not help when trying to pass something like this off as real. We see interviews with experts, FBI, family of the victims and others. It all is well acted and drives home the overall effect. And in a move that really helps with things, the killer’s footage is shot on a normal cheaper camera. That’s ten times better than a “found footage” film where everyone is running around with HD cameras.
Of course, for all the hype that was surrounding it, I did find it a little weak and lacking when it came to violence. The most shocking thing is scenes involving kids, but to its credit that stuff is off camera when it gets to the “bad” parts there. Still, you have a much more genuine style of filmmaking that could probably shock more than a few and trick them into believing what they are watching is real. The Blu-ray/DVD combo from Scream Factory is a good release for something so many people waited so long to see. It looks good on Blu-ray but as you can expect some of the killer’s old footage lacks something to be desired in the format.
– NEW Interviews With Writer/Director John Erick Dowdle, Writer/Producer Drew Dowdle, And Actress Stacy Chbosky
– Theatrical Trailer
Quality of Transfer: 88%