Not RatedYou can watch the trailer here
I'm having a pretty good run with documentaries today (in case you didn't notice this morning's review of Exit Through the Gift Shop). This time, I went for more creepier fare with a low-budget documentary called Cropsey.
The movie shows two Staten Island filmmakers (Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio) who are attempting to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of a number of children who went missing from Staten Island between 1972 and 1987. They start by telling of a local urban legend: the tale of Cropsey who was a maniac living in the tunnels beneath an old, abandoned psychiatric ward on the island. As with most urban legends, there's no one set story for Cropsey, but everyone has their own little piece to add. However, when a number of children began to disappear from the community, it seemed as though this urban legend may, in fact, be real. After the disappearance of a twelve-year-old girl with Down Syndrome in 1987, a drifter named Andre Rand was taken into custody, tried, and convicted of kidnapping after the girl's body was found. The rest of the film follows a more recent trial connected to another missing child, with the filmmakers also trying to find their own answers and make their own assumptions as to whether Rand is innocent or guilty.
The first thing that you'll notice about the film is the atmosphere that Zeman and Brancaccio have created. The opening montage makes the movie seem like we're about to dive into the depths of a creepy underworld that we normally wouldn't want to encounter, and at times, we do get to explore these places. However, don't assume you're in for another faux documentary like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity - Cropsey is real-life, and that makes it all the more haunting. The story is creepy and haunting and emotional and engaging, and it keeps you hooked from the first second.
On a quick side note, it should be stated that the film's musical score is absolutely fantastic. Alex Lasarenko, of whom I'd never heard until today, composed a beautifully haunting (I know I'm using that word too much, but it's the best one I can think of right now, so bear with me) score that entraps you and keeps your pulse pounding just a little bit. It would be the perfect fit for a decent horror flick if they ever choose to dole it out for something else.
Ultimately, I think the ending is the real selling point of the film. I usually don't like to give too much away about a movie, but I'll just say that it's all left rather open-ended in the end. However, there's a final voice-over from Zeman that brings the entire film full circle, back to the original story told about Cropsey, that really makes you think. It gave me chills. I think that's saying quite a bit about this film which I almost want to call a must-watch. Yes, it dabbles in some very sensitive material (i.e., the kidnapping and murder of children), but if you want a HAUNTING and real-life story, this is easily one of your best bets.
Movie Review Summary:
Addition to Awards
2010: 2 nominations