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horror documentary

When analyzing horror it's important to realize the implications and inspirations of the stories portrayed on screen. With every stroke of genius there is a beginning and for many of the horror films we watch, it is a local legend or folklore that sets the stage for horror. Cropsey is a documentary film that has the ability to make horror seem real, which is unique for this genre. In flashy studio productions, scares and frights present themselves around corners or under beds, but I wonder if that is how they really occur in real life? What Cropsey does so brilliantly is analyze the roots of a horrifying time period in Staten Island, where what we usually only see in the films we watch is playing out in real life with real world consequences.

In order to understand their childhood, Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio investigate their youth and the relationship between legend and facts. There were always rumors of a “boogey man” in the area, but the coincidences between this folklore and the numerous missing children abducted from the area creates a stirring tale that asks the viewer to pick their own horrifying truths. Was the man that was arrested, Andre Rand, really the man that abducted all these children? If he did, then why? Were other people involved? All of these questions are analyzed and pull the viewer in a million different directions.

When watching so many horror movies, it is important to put stories into perspective. Many of the films I reviewed couldn’t happen in real life, but what happens when a horror story strikes home? Cropsey takes you into that dark secluded shed in your backyard that you always thought had creepers inside. It brings to life the old lady on the corner that has a billion cats and the janitor that hangs around the school for a suspiciously long time. The fact is that horrifying events happen daily and while horror movies may desensitize this fact, it is important to respect the potential for the macabre.

Horror fans shouldn’t view this film as anything other than an investigation into the heart of darkness. There are no jumps, but there are stories, legends, and facts that bring to light the possibilities for a plethora of horror scenarios ranging from cults to necrophilia. Disturbing and sinister are good terms for the film, especially home video moments that focus in on the psychiatric center located on Staten Island where a lot of mischievous events occurred. Because of a lack of superficial scares, not everyone willlove this film, but I promise that you will respect it.

Horror island is receiving a meta-analysis of what horror is. It consists of a villain that may be evil or may not. Unfortunately, life isn’t as black and white as the movies. Even on horror island, not all is what it seems. Human nature is more complex than any actor can portray, so what better than a documentary to shed light on what is good and evil? Cropsey is the kind of movie that makes you realize how fascinating the horror genre is and only contributes to the fear that we all experience when watching our favorite films.

If you liked Cropsey, you might also like The Silence of the Lambs and Sinister.

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