Unrated, 1 hr. 24 min. Directed by: Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman. Release Date: June 4, 2010. DVD Release Date: December 1, 2010.
****REPOSTED FROM THE LATE, LATE SHOW WITH NEW EDITS/COMMENTS****
never seen a movie that was so clearly the director's attempt to address
their childhood boogeyman. I spot this on Netflix streaming on
occasion, and even now that I've watched it three or four times, the
movie is still a fascinating and occasionally chilling look at a legend
that's managed to grow into a local boggart.
Thinking back to my own childhood, there were three major events that changed my life, and all before I was 10: the Challenger disaster,
the beginnings of the Night Stalker slayings in Los Angeles, and
being a bystander in what I believe now to be a kidnapping
attempt on a boy who lived in my neighborhood. These were the things
that scared me badly as a kid. During the Night Stalker's reign of
terror in Los Angeles, and for more than a year later, I would run, full
tilt between my home and my best friend's house, only two doors down,
if I left one for the other after it was dark. I'm not sure I ever told
anyone about what I think was a kidnapping attempt, although I know
some of my friends and I talked about it a few times, strained "what if?" type conversations none of us really wanted to have. Maybe one of them
told their moms. I know I never said a word and I think I didn't talk about it because talking about it made it real. Sometimes I dreamed about
being kidnapped, like that kid from Diff'rent Strokes, but other times it was terrifying.
was my own personal boogeyman as a child and even as an adult. To this
day, if I happen across his image somewhere, or if I watch documentaries
about him, it freaks me out beyond rational measure. While I wasn't
exactly in Ramirez' victim profile, and his work wasn't done all that
close to where I lived in Southern California, his actions forever
changed the way I looked at the world around me. For Barbara Branaccio
and Joshua Zeman, Cropsey is their way of confronting the man who haunted their childhood and changed the way they looked at the world around them. I have to admire their courage in that, because having looked at my own childhood fears, I realize how hard that confrontation would have to have been.
I don't talk about
a lot of documentaries, because I usually end up watching them in class
or when I'm stuck for something more entertaining, but this was…
awesome. Considering the way that this is one of those few situations
wherein real life reflects a horror film: a former mental patient who
survives the closure of his ward begins lurking around a quiet urban
neighborhood, kidnapping children he sees as physically, mentally, or
emotionally impaired, this is one documentary that can hold its own in
the entertainment department. I've certainly seen horror films that
weren't as scary as what I saw here.
Now, it's obvious that these two have seen some horror films in the past: The Blair Witch Project
comes immediately to mind. The camera work throughout involves scenery
and cinematography that I've seen in the horror genre, to include Blair Witch and the final scenes, provided they're scripted and not "found footage," are very Blair inspired. They may have copycatted a bit, but these guys did it right.