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February 2, 2011

Movie Review: The Poughkeepsie Tapes

By Heather Henshaw

In the small town of Poughkeepsie there was a house that was used to torture, murder and mutilate bodies. It was a known fact that all this happened after the police raided the house to find hundreds of video tapes with images we could never begin to imagine; that however was not all that the police found, they found a living human doll by the name of Cheryl Dempsey (Stacy Chbosky). She was found in a box wearing a mask motionless and blank to her surroundings. The movie goes back and forth between three different stories. You have the story that follows Cheryl’s kidnaping, the video tapes of murders, and of course like any and all mockumentaries you have the doctors, police, and psychologist thoughts on the killer.

Cheryl was kidnaped by the killer but he spared her life if that is what we want to call it. We see on many of her tapes that he torments her mentally and physically. In the first few scenes with her; she is chained up, beaten and forced to degrade herself down to a lowly slave. Many of her video’s become disturbing as time passes by. She has become the killers slave in many ways in fact when she misbehaves she has to make the kidnaped victims pay for what she did. It will make more since once you actually see the film on what I mean by the others paying for her. Cheryl becomes dead inside. She has become so use to being abused and having pain in her daily life that she cannot live without it. She cannot bare the pain to even go on without her “master”.

The murder videos show various things, they go from just in general videos of him “tricking” the victims all the way to dismemberment of the bodies. He never shows his face in any of these video’s it is always arms, or just up to the neck. The killer takes time to prefect his recording skills and obviously practices so during the murders he can record the murder while only using one hand to do both. The murder videos can be grainy at times but that is due to it’s just a cheap hand cam. Most of the footage is him just leading up to the very fast kills. Once it is at the kill the video gets very gray and grainy compared to the color not so much grainy captures.

The psychologist and police video’s gave an outline of how they perceive the killer and his ways. They try to analyze the man behind the camera and the madness. They go into a lot of the details of how he kills. The forensic analyst goes into great detail on how most killers never go back to hand saw once they become skilled and learn from past kills. However he talks about how the Poughkeepsie tapes killer goes through many methods but never sticks to one, he is the only killer who has reused the handsaw. The police use the killer tapes to teach the recruits about crimes they should be prepared for in the line of duty.

I have wanted to see this movie for many years, in fact since I saw the trailer in theaters awhile back. I waited and waited finally saw it. This movie was a fairly good one it defiantly can play off your fear but with images but at times I felt it had a lack of something. I don’t know if it was just because I felt all the acting was over the top, fake, and just was unemotional when it came to the family and police. You would think there would be more feeling to it through the family and police but it made you sit back and kind of think really. The forensic analyst was the most upsetting to me just due to the over the top fake of his role. He was supposed to be disturbed by all the videos but yet he smirks the whole movie and kind of seems just like a big joke to me. I give this film credit on not much gore to it. The only graphic content was maybe a stab here, there and a cut up scene. The story of the three sets of video tapings went together well for the overall story, it was easy to follow some can be all over the place but no this was dead on. The killer real does a good job on the torment he displays on Cheryl. The whole human doll slave was amazingly done. You would have to reach deep to pull off that dark place that was went to for that fragment of the film. It was the heart of the film in my mind. To me that is about the only thing I really truly enjoyed in this film. I never really felt for any of the roles. To me it was not as good as mockumentary Long Pigs by Chris Power. Some of the videos are random in Poughkeepsie Tapes for instance they keep going to a girl sitting on a balloon to pop. To me that dragged out a bit too much on and off in the movie. One thing that was great about the film that is never seen in movies was the way they taped the movie, they made all the killer tapes basically look like it was filmed on a crappy old non-HD hand held camera. That played a huge factor. It gave it a real life feel to the terror that a lot of films pass over. I would like to see that in a lot more movies to come but I doubt it will happen. For me if you can look past the acting and balloon scene it is a really good movie. I say this film is way better than Paranormal Activity but defiantly not better than Long Pigs. That should give you a good idea to how this movie falls on the list.

Lots of films make theater cuts this film was on the list but never made it to see the light of day. I honestly hope The Poughkeepsie Tapes gets another chance to hit theaters or just go straight to DVD. I do not know why it has not happened yet but near future keep an eye out for this film to be out. The shear thought of this film not making DVD puts me in awe. It is really worth the watch for most and all horror fans. The fear is real and the tapes can be found so check out The Poughkeepsie Tapes.

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