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  • Writer's pictureLeft For Dread

This Movie Did not spark joy

For Chris. As you heard in the episode, Chris was not a fan of The Poughkeepsie Tapes. I, (Ry) on the other hand thought it was well worth the hype and mystery. I do realize however, that this movie isn't for everyone purely because of the violent and disturbing subject matter. So for that reason, I give you a word of caution. Like most serial killers, they're not in their right minds, so in watching this, you're watching the chronicles of someone who isn't in their right mind, real or not. There are reasons why some horror movies pull from real life scenarios, it makes what you're watching all the more gruesome. In recent years, found footage in horror has become almost a dirty word. It's become predictable and overdone and a lot of the same. Even though it's been around for over ten years, I don't think The Poughkeepsie Tapes should be held to the same standard as some found footage films. It's grotesque realism makes for an unnerving watch and I can see where it's too brutal for some. While the found footage style isn't inherently bad, short of a few films here and there, I feel that it's impact has done to death and has become ineffective.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is structured around a faceless serial killer, in conjunction with a faux true crime documentary. This killer who only shows his face once on CCTV footage remains uncaught with the proof of his crimes left behind in the hundreds of thousands of tapes found in his home. The true brutality of the film resides in these tapes. They're seamlessly woven into the fabric of the movie which makes for a visually intriguing watch. This is what gives The Poughkeepsie Tapes the authentic feel. It's also what contributed to not just the controversy of the film but the reason it was pulled from distribution. Another contributing factor to the realism of the footage that's left behind is how poorly shot it is, and the low quality of the footage itself which gives it the effective realism.

While I'm not sure I'd personally call this one of the most disturbing films of all time, (I think I'll leave that to Martyrs and A Serbian Film) it will definitely give you the chills and make you feel uneasy and unnerved. Should we give kudos to the director for creating something so realistic, it was taken as real for a time being? Absolutely. It shows a creativity and nerve that I think is lacking in some modern horror.

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