Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman are two documentary filmmakers who attempt to find a real life boogeyman behind Cropsey, the urban legend character from scary campfire stories they heard as children. Their quest begins on Staten Island at Willowbrook Mental Instituion, a place with a dark past filled with the mistreatment of the patients before its closure. Soon after, their research directs them to the startling story of former custodian Andre Rand.
In 1987, Rand was arrested for the kidnapping of a little girl with Downs Syndrome and then charged with at least five more missing persons cases during the course of the 1970's during his incarceration. No concrete evidence was presented to justify him as the guilty perpertrator, but it seemed as though the area's citizens needed to end their witch hunt and begin the healing process. Unfortunately for Rand, he became the scapegoat of this whole situation, yet he still declares his innocence from his jail cell to this very day. Ties to a satanic cult and other weird avenues are also explored by the film makers during the 84-minute running time.
We are never given an opportunity to actually hear from Rand in an interview or otherwise. Only circumstantial evidence was used the judge, jury and executioner during his trial. Rand and his child snatching past are truly creepy and his physical appearance is that of a disturbed individual or a flat out "weirdo", but nothing definitive is offered as hard proof of his guilt. In the eyes of the law, he could very equally be as guilty as he is not guilty.
While it may resemble programming you'd find on TruTV or an installment of Dateline, it is a very interesting tale, although a but upsetting as well due to the circumstances and end result. Brancaccio and Zeman get major points for intertwining a legendary tale into reality, something that is a huge differentiator against the endless sea of straight forward documentary films out there.
If you thought that this Cropsey would refer to Cropsy, the lead villain of the 80's slasher The Burning, sorry to disappoint you. But this film released through Breaking Glass Pictures is certainly worth a watch.
|3 out of 5 Creeper Santas|