Directors Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio explore an urban legend that always disturbed them while growing up in Staten Island, N.Y. -- a rash of child abductions that struck the area in the 1970s and 80s -- in their gripping documentary. The legend became real when a handyman and drifter named Andre Rand abducted numerous young kids, setting off myriad motive theories, frightening residents in the community and tripping up the legal system.

Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

I liked the atmosphere of this documentary: Very creepy, with a haunting piano melody and lo-fi video footage that puts you there in history. But its various tangents don't cohere, and the movie might benefit from openly taking a side on whether Andre Rand is guilty or innocent. (He sure seemed like a scapegoat to me.) I was also really bugged by the endless re-use of the same footage of rotting buildings, as if we wouldn't notice them showing us the same darkened, graffiti-plagued entranceway seven or eight times. Overall, this was fairly dull and murky.

− October 15, 2012 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

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