Movie Forty Three
I discovered Cropsey while searching for something interesting on Amazon’s Prime Instant video section. It is a documentary about a local Staten Island, NY urban legend of a man that kills children. Apparently everyone growing up on Long Island knew the story because parents would tell kids as a deterrent to stay out of the woods or travel to unsafe places. The documentarians try to connect the dots to make the tale of Cropsey tie in to a real person.
Now, I have never been to Staten Island and had never heard of the tale of Cropsey or the trial of the real man, Andre Rand, so I went into the film completely fresh.From a narrative standpoint, I thought the documentary jumps from idea to idea a bit too frequently. It starts off strong, giving the background for the urban legend and also the horrifying conditions of the now defunct Willowbrook State School on Staten Island. When Andre Rand became a suspect in the kidnapping death of a young girl, the film starts finger-pointing instead of looking at things objectively. There is also a weird stretch about satanic cults that I didn’t quite follow.
The people in Staten Island are convinced that Andre Rand killed several children, and we get some background into who he is and his trials and also why it looks like he was involved in those murders. It is interesting to have the tie to a local urban legend as well, but ultimately I was left with an amateurish take on an interesting topic. It left me wanting more, but only because I was not pleased with how it was presented. Cropsey is somewhat interesting, and if you know of the story you might get extra mileage out of it but it is not a very compelling movie in the end.
I give it 2 Geraldo Rivera news segments out of 5.