This disturbing found footage horror film takes you into the killer's perspective


The big picture

  • The Poughkeepsie Tapes
    delves deep into the mind of a serial killer and shows his disturbing atrocities in graphic detail.
  • Unlike other horror films, the murderer here is portrayed as a real, multi-dimensional human being, which makes his actions even more frightening.
  • Through found footage,
    The Poughkeepsie Tapes
    puts viewers in the shoes of the victims and shows the realistic and horrific nature of the killer.

While horror is full of amazing stories of survivors fighting back and triumphing over their villains, audiences want to look at things from a different perspective every now and then. That's why the fans are happy Chris Nash'S In a violent nature, an upcoming film that offers a stunningly deep look into the actions and thoughts of a typical horror slasher. But viewers don't have to wait for the film's release to see such a frighteningly introspective plot – they can watch The Poughkeepsie Tapesleaded by John Erick Dowdle. This deeply disturbing horror film goes in a direction that no other found footage has taken before, providing an intimate look into the crimes of its central serial killer and focusing on his heinous actions. But even within a genre famous for its abundance of petrifying monsters, this film stands out for showing how carelessly the killer commits his crimes and how much he delights in the destruction they leave in their wake. It creates an all-too-real portrayal of one of horror film's most despicable minds – and takes the audience along with it every step of the way.

the poughkeepsie tapes

The Poughkeepsie Tapes

In an abandoned house in Poughkeepsie, New York homicide detectives uncover hundreds of tapes showing the decades-long work of a serial killer.

John Erick Dowdle

Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer, Samantha Robson, Ivar Brogger, Lou George, Amy Lyndon

Main genre

The terror is real.

“The Poughkeepsie Tapes” relentlessly depicts the actions of a serial killer

While The Poughkeepsie Tapes Although it broke barriers with its shocking plot, it definitely wasn't the first film to make its “protagonist” a vile character who would be the big bad of any other film. One of the earliest mainstream attempts at this concept was Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, leaded by John McNaughton, a disturbingly nuanced examination of the mind of a man who has dedicated his life to killing others and getting away with it. Audiences found this subversion enticing and rightly felt aversion to the titular Henry (Michael Rooker), but fascinated by the complexity this film brings to a normally one-dimensional villain. It was this layered presentation that made the film even scarier becauseBy portraying horror killers like Henry as real, multi-faceted people, the plot adds a level of reality to his actions that is sure to captivate viewers. By making these monsters appear as realistic creatures, the films tap into the inherent fear that the actions on screen could somehow be replicated in real life – making this type of story perfect for found footage.


For seven years no one could see this found footage horror film

After premiering on Tribeca, the film disappeared for seven years before reappearing on VOD.

Found footage is a saturated but endlessly entertaining subgenre that uses its particular point of view to make any film more viable, often dealing with unnatural phenomena such as the famous paranormal activity franchise, but uses the camera to create a sense of connection with the audience. Many found footage films have attempted to use this depth to show their horror from the literal perspective of the killer, with some of the most famous examples being theseSpree, Man bites dogAnd Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. While each of these films presents truly vile examples of people who enjoy terrorizing others, for some reason these specific intersections of theme and medium are always tied to some sense of comedy, tempering the on-screen terror with dark humor, which has varying degrees of success. Whatever the intent of this comedy, it often detracts from the film's actual horror – and here's why The Poughkeepsie Tapes is so hauntingly effective. Instead of relieving the audience's discomfort, It actively contributes to making the viewing experience a torturous one for everyone, creating some of the genre's most disgusting moments without any reprieve. It's a terrible, completely hopeless film, and that's precisely why it achieves what almost all found footage films strive to do: put the audience in the shoes of those suffering.

“The Poughkeepsie Tapes” is too real

The Poughkeepsie Tapes follows the actions and consequences of Edward Carver (Ben Messmer), a brutal serial killer who eluded police for years while committing despicable acts of murder and torture across the United States – and made sure to film every single one of them. During a recent raid on his suspected home, authorities discovered not only one of his victims, Cheryl Dempsey (Stacy Chbosky), almost still alive, but also over 800 video recordings of the man committing senseless massacres and depravity.

The contents of these tapes are horrifying in their own right, these harrowing scenes show him stalking and killing hundreds of people, even sewing one person's head into another person's torso in a truly breathtaking moment. But for all this poignancy, one of the scariest aspects of the film is showing the impact of these actions on an entire nation. Law enforcement can't find any trace of him, investigators are stumped, and the families of his victims are completely heartbroken knowing not only that they've lost a loved one, but also the potential of what he did to them in the process. The film depicts the man's disturbing actions and their heartbreaking consequences, but its real horror comes from seeing how easy it is for Edward to commit these despicable acts.

One of the most harrowing aspects of the film is Edwards' treatment of Cheryl, beginning with her abduction. This is a painfully long process in which the man breaks into her house and hides while the teenager and her boyfriend enjoy an evening together before he finally shows up, kills the man in a gruesome way and beats Cheryl before kidnapping her. His footage documents the many years he spends mentally humiliating the young woman, all the while trying to evade the police and even once going to her mother's house to gloat over what he did to her daughter .

Additionally, there are several moments in which Edward makes his crimes shockingly public, leaves clues about his victims to the authorities through CCTV footage, and, in a heartbreaking scene, rips a young girl just meters from her front door during she plays in her garden. What does The Poughkeepsie TapesSuch a terribly effective story makes it clear that Edward Carver is not a mythical monster or immortal slasher like in other horror films. It makes it clear that he is just a human with a twisted, intelligent mind, and that the methods he uses to trap victims and evade justice are deceptively simple and based on the basics of human interaction that every viewer would be familiar with is familiar. By leveraging the connection that found footage brings, The Poughkeepsie Tapesputs the viewer directly into the thoughts of the man and his victim, This provides not only a painful look at his atrocities, but also a haunting wonder about whether there are people so evil – and so efficient – in their real world.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes relishes its audience's discomfort, although the film's tendency to sensationalize its gore often compromises the complexity its plot tries to convey. However, the plot uses this violence and the devastation that comes with it not only to reveal how terrible the central killer is, but also to provide a close look at the enormous impact this type of monster can have. It's not the first found footage horror film to attempt to place viewers in a villainous perspective, but it is the one that does the most to unflinchingly show how easily someone can commit such atrocities. It does not shy away from the graphic violence or attempt to mitigate the catastrophic effects. Instead, it heightens that horror on every level, playing on the viewer's own sense of security by constantly reminding them that such acts are possible in real life. In a violent nature promises to be an innovation for the genre and delights fans with its imaginative storytelling. While we wait for May 31st, stop by The Poughkeepsie Tapes to really get into the mind of a horror movie killer – if you can bear it.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is available to stream on Tubi in the US