Cropsey follows a story of legend becoming reality, or perhaps the other way around. For New York suburbia, Cropsey was an urban legend: a person or monster of varying identity with the throughline of abducting children. But suburban New Yorkers discover there’s more truth to Cropsey than legend. Several children were abducted in the 1970s and 1980s, and evidence points to state school custodian Andre Rand.

This documentary has the twists, turns and reveals of a modern horror-mystery drama. Cropsey puts you in the headspace of a small community haunted by a myth. The question of fiction affecting reality or reality influencing fiction is moot  – to the residents of suburban Staten Island, Cropsey is real (and is fortunately serving 25 years in Rikers).

Cropsey is a dark horror-doc with no real happy ending, only justice. It’s eerie in a way that most good true crime horrors are, but magnified for being that much closer to the source.

Recommended for: Those with a morbid taste for truth in scary stories.

That unfortunately common, collective human experience of waking in the dead of the night and finding a form – being it a raggedy-yet-terrifying old woman, an ominous cat or a shadow man – suppressing your movement and filling you with terror is brought to life in The Nightmare.

A collection of experiences shared by sufferers of sleep paralysis, The Nightmare chronicles their most terrifying of their episodes. Each has his or her own stories, which they narrate. Given that documentary dramatizations are usually the cheesiest acting this side of a daytime soap, The Nightmare has surprisingly engaging and chilling pseudo-reenactments of out of body experiences, sleep paralysis and borderline supernatural occurrences.

There are scares along the way, in the form of both jump and chills, but even at an hour and a half, it feels unfinished: the state in which these people awaken is barely glossed over, scientifically. It might leave you wondering what, if anything, this documentary is trying to say.


Recommended for: People who want to appreciate their occasional nightmare for what it isn’t.

Categories: Documentary Review

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