THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES
It has been some interesting movies I have seen of late, and this is definitely one of the ones that sticks out. A movie like, so many these days, serves as a faux-documentary, this is also a film that doesn’t lean on that pole as a means to lie, but as a way to portray the horrific in a different way. This is a film that asks – what if we knew what made a killer? And then dares you to answer whether it matters or not. And in the end, it doesn’t, because sometimes, evil just IS.
And the man in this film is evil.
THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES are a series of tapes found by the police that detail the journey of a man from a first time killer that kills out of circumstance to a monster that stalks his victims and plays out elaborate scenarios with them before killing them. The film plays instances from many of the tapes against a backdrop of law enforcement professionals that dealt with the case and families that lost loved ones to this murderer. And against the horror you learn nothing, and that is the most horrifying realization in the film, that even seeing the birth of the monster, and seeing almost every moment of their career, you still have no idea what made them, or how to stop them. And that is the horror. That there may be no real cause, just that someone gave in to the darkness and has spread it outward exponentially.
A grueling and hard to watch film, it is still one that sticks with you. The film is made ‘amateurishly’ but with reason, all the footage from the point of the killer is handheld and rough because he is a killer and not a filmmaker. The documentary material is done well and is believable, in good part because there is a lot of good acting on hand here. This is played straight, horribly straight, and it is hard to shake the kind of monster the killer here is. It is s simple premise that works perfectly, and disturbed the hell out of me.
8 out of 10