Done in the style of a documentary, director John Erick Dowdle combined found footage from a serial killer and interviews with police and families of the victims to create a harrowing and exhausting movie that I would recommend only to those of you who enjoy nightmares. Dowdle’s dirty work served him well as he would go on to helm higher profile movies Quarantine and Devil, both of which are about as scary as a Scoobie Doo cartoon by comparison.
The killer in The Poughkeepsie Tapes takes great pleasure in torturing his victims and he is exceptionally careful about covering his tracks. The abduction scenes are brutally convincing and the tone is so grim that any hopes of a happy ending are obliterated within the first 15 minutes. The victims that are murdered in cruel and humiliating ways are lucky compared to high schooler Cheryl Dempsey. After butchering her boyfriend, the killer chains her up in his basement and crushes her spirit by terrorizing her into thanking him for killing her family. The poor girl has no choice but to assume a role as his personal slave and is then doomed to years of psychological, physical, sexual and relentless torture. She is also forced to bear witness to and participate in a number of atrocities. Does this sound like your kind of movie? If so you're either deeply disturbed or you go by the name of Catfreeek or Abduscias.
Just writing the synopsis made me depressed. My October Horrorthons would not be complete without a movie that legitimately frightens me and takes me out of my comfort zone. That said, I couldn't wait for this one to end.