Law enforcement officials find boxes of video tapes belonging to
a prolific serial killer who documented his work over a decade.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
Directed by John Erick Dowdle
Written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle
Starring Ben Messmer, Stacy Chbosky, Samantha Robson,
Ivar Brogger, Lou George, Amy Lyndon, Ron Harper
I have never seen another movie quite like The Poughkeepsie Tapes. I consider myself a horror buff. I've come to believe I can handle most things, but this? This movie was on a completely different level. It's practically a snuff film from beginning to end, but it really isn't. It contains some of the most unsettling, uncomfortable, and graphically sickening scenes in horror film history and in my opinion, stands as one of the most unique and innovative horror films of all time. Despite being an admittedly unpleasant viewing experience, The Poughkeepsie Tapes deserves way more attention than its gotten.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a mockumentary about a fictional serial killer called the Water Street Butcher, who is arguably one of the most heinous and evil movie villains ever put to film. The audience is treated to his personal cache of tapes in which he recorded every murder, rape, and torture he inflicted upon his victims. Viewing these tapes is nothing short of disturbing, though the acting is absolutely superb on all fronts. The most impossible thing about all of it? Every second of this movie feels real. You don't doubt for a second that you are actually watching the work of a serial murderer with zero remorse for his actions. No movie ever has managed to capture genuine scares like this.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a groundbreaking example of low-budget filmmaking. If you can utilize a brilliant premise, a solid cast, and a working camera, amazing things can happen. This film never got an official release back in 2007, with a DVD and Blu-Ray release only happening in the past month. Given its controversial subject matter, I can see why it was held back. The film hurts to watch. I want to stress its realism as much as possible. If it weren't for the interviews with the cast and crew, I would absolutely believe this was a snuff film. However, knowing that it's not, I can give this film my stamp of approval.