A perturbing blend of horror and documentary, Cropsey looks at what happens when the boogeyman is real.
Shot in Staten Island by native directors Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio, the film delves into the story behind a series of disappearances of children in the '70s and '80s, all of them believed to be buried on the grounds of an abandoned local mental institution. Like Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac, the directors sniff around the woods for clues, using hand-held cameras. As they conduct interviews with family members, attorneys, and policemen, they convey the moral strength of a community even as they demonstrate how ignorance can facilitate the deadliest of crimes.
Intercut throughout are reports on the trial of Andre Rand, the lead suspect in five of the missing-children cases, who keeps writing Zeman and Brancaccio cryptic and defensive letters. A real-life nightmare, Cropsey shakes you as well as inspires you to pursue the terrifying truth.