top of page

How Jokes Work

The Poughkeepsie Tapes Review

Sometimes Sickle and I venture into the realm of mockumentary style horror and generally we are disappointed by bad camera work combined with lazily written scripts and mediocre acting. The movie we watched the other day however has us in awe. Combining the best parts of documentary and found footage to explore the psychology of a serial killer. This film watches as more of a "How to be a Serial Killer" film than anything else and even Sickle was impressed by some of the commentary about effective ways to dispose of bodies and how to stifle investigations while still making sure every kill is witnessed by the public.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a mockumentary style film about a serial killer in, you guessed it, Poughkeepsie. The crew is filming the documentary in light of the killer’s house being found ( or given to them). Inside the house they find many things including, you guessed it again, tapes. The movie is shown in sections, each of which goes through a different aspect of the serial killer, the investigation surrounding him and various people. All of these interspersed with found footage of the killer videotaping various acts of heinous acts performed on his victims.

While I usually spoil films in my commentary, I am breaking that rule this time, reasons being that even my hard black demon heart was stirred by some of the stuff that was in these tapes. More to the point, some of the footage found in this film is frequently found on the internet. People use footage from this film to scare other people on the internet. Need I say more or are you willing to admit even that is startling?

The film is very well done and a lot of the commentary by the investigators, psychologists, and other members of the investigative team are very spot-on. Giving all you future Sickles out there something to strive for. Albeit my compatriot was pointing out subtle things that were incorrect about profiling and various aspects of the film, overall there was not an overwhelming amount of room for contradiction because, and yes this is kind of disturbing, the film uses very basic principles of investigation and FBI profiling to show that an intelligent killer can keep killing, even in plain sight.

What you should not expect from this movie is a Scream style murder fest. This movie is slow, methodical and all about the escalation, but that is the very reason I was impressed. Typically I prefer the bloody, the suddenly shocking, and the horrific; but, there is something to be said about a film that leaves one feeling as if they may want to know their neighbors better, even when your neighbors are the formerly living and the demonic.

Horror Qualifier: 6/10

Horror Quality: 6/10

Film Quality: 6/10

bottom of page