Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman
I’m a sucker for documentaries. As long as the story holds some appeal and the sound is well-mixed, I’m in. When I caught word of Cropsey, a factual documentary that focuses on the legend of Cropsey and the story behind the urban legend, I considered myself auto-signed up. Tme was not wasted in pursuing the film. Dumb luck saw Cropsey featured on Netflix Streaming, which made access all the easier.
No feet were dipped. I dove in, carefree.
And I loved it.
Cropsey is an east coast urban legend. It’s basically the embodiment of evil, typically considered a mortal man, that targets children. But the origin of the legend actually has some wild depth to it, and filmmakers Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman leap into the folds of folklore, exploring the truths and the perpetuated rumors thoroughly and with conviction. What it all comes down to is a nightmarish stretch of years on Staten Island. Children went missing, mothers wept and a lunatic stalked the streets, predatory eyes in perpetual motion. It’s frightening stuff, only made more frightening when the reality of it all truly sets in.
Brancaccio and Zeman do a good job of connecting the dots and seeing each and every investigative lead through. They’re a passionate pair, and Zeman makes for a quality leader. The editing is generally strong (there are a handful of transitions that feel stretched, but that’s really the only major technical mishap I spotted. The sound, one of the most crucial elements of the picture, is also quite even. It’s well-mixed and rather crisp. Again, technically, Cropsey definitely passes with flying colors.
I’m a fan of the film. If you’re a fan of documentaries, you’re likely accustomed to the relatively slow pacing employed by the bulk of such pictures, and as a result won’t mind Cropsey‘s measured movement. It’s quite a compelling story, sad and frightening in equal measure while jarring in more than a single sequence. I love the thorough nature of the project, and I’ll have my eyes open for future works from Zeman and Brancaccio. Cropsey comes highly recommended!