This was merchandised as a pseudo-investigatory snuff movie upon its release, and some people questioned its authenticity. It left a lot of viewers deservedly disappointed.
After appreciating the sociological nuances and judiciary failures it brings to light, it’s become apparent that I was too hard on it upon my first viewing (many years ago).
Camerawork and perspective is paramount in scenes depicting the criminal’s methodologies; it’s equally focused on his physical/social techniques as it is the vulnerabilities of your everyday citizen/child.
A large majority of both critics and…well, other critics really don’t like this film.
I believe that The Poughkeepsie Tapes must be regarded as a warped mirror, reflecting the extremity of morbidity encapsulating our planet.
Sophisticated serial killers who operate in an almost infallible manner – whilst all the while appearing disorganized and impulsive, are entities illustrated with a level of sophistication/investigative insight that’s absent in most exploitation horrors.
To some extent, the medium in which the footage was investigated – and created endorses the necessity of technological surveillance; although this is a topic that will always remain a double-edged sword…
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a very misunderstood project. I only wish it had been presented in a more linear format; alike true-crime documentaries.
Cinematography wise, it’s pretty clever. It’s not so much about putting you in the predator’s (camera’s) point-of-view for mere shock value as it is demonstrating the vulnerabilities of your average citizen and the calculation that a sophisticated sadist employs – although, I don’t like to use psychological labels to profile others.
However, the murderer’s inactivity during certain periods of time ties into his prodigious exploitation of the judicial system.
Providing insight into how serial killers are capable of perverting the cause of justice by implicating those whom they believe would most easily be scapegoated; the message it delivers conveys an essential modicum of insight.
The vocal intonations of the villain are what I’d imagine are close to life, much alike the desperation and fright expressed by those subjugated to all that occurs throughout its runtime.
My comments in regard to the lead investigator being incompatible with his role could actually be something the creators contrived deliberately; to demonstrate the emotional impact of crimes so unprecedentedly severe – alongside the judicial failures that accompanied them.
More psychologically indulgent than it is physically; profiling is likely why the film is so unappreciated; and, funnily enough, the exact reason why the featured culprit evaded capture.