There’s no getting away from the fact that wannabe filmmakers frequently land in the Found Footage genre, and why not?
The draw of making a film for under $1000 must be a strong one, and we all know that horror is one of the most popular movie genres on the planet.
We also know that horror or science fiction rely on special effects 99.9% of the time, therefore the chance to limit the cost of these effects has a strong pull…unfortunately that’s one of the downfalls of the Found Footage universe.
Catskill Park is one of those movies that ends up bringing the genre down – even though it wasn’t put together to do so, it does anyway.
Yet another title that really could have been a good film, but by slightly missing the mark, has ended up miles away from a satisfactory experience.
A camping trip turns into a living nightmare when a blizzard traps four friends in 36 inches of sudden snow – And shrieking alien sounds outside of their tents. A race for life ensues as they are hunted by horrific monsters, discovering a larger alien conspiracy with every terrifying stride.
The more Found Footage movies you watch, the more filmmaking tips and tricks you are able to pick out – once one low budget film uses an effective angle, the rest surely follow.
Catskill Park takes full advantage of what I call the ‘Malfunction Skip’.
Now, what the fuck is a Malfunction Skip?
Well, it’s that moment UFO-based Found Footage movies take full advantage of the glitch in the video camera…usually to cut down the amount of time the alien is on-screen, or eliminate the need for the alien being on-screen at all!
Why would they opt to do this?
Well, cost of effects of course.
If you can cut out the need for long CGI scenes, all you have to worry about is four pretty average actors running around the forest screaming.
Now that ain’t gonna cost you much money – is it?
Unfortunately, Catskill Park is made up of swift (rather impressive) CGI scenes, cut short by malfunctions and cameras filming grass (the running away screaming scene!).
This is pretty close to being a decent Found Footage experience…but it fell short because the people behind the project needed to cut corners, and it showed.
The Malfunction Skip is irritating enough, but when you add pretty mad and nonsensical scenes and plot twists to the equation – you’re not left with much.
This film lasted for just over 90 minutes, which is quite long in the universe of Found Footage, but the movie could easily have worked at about a 60 minute run time.
I frequently found myself wondering how a certain character was alive, when they seemed to have been ‘alienated’ earlier in the movie. These characters kept on popping back up, then disappearing again, then an alien would pop up about a meter away, but apparently this alien was too slow to grab the guy on the camera…
It goes on and on.
Cinematography was half decent for the most part, but the malfunctions and glitches got irritating. The short frames that actually showed the aliens and UFOs were really good – but way to short to enjoy properly.
I think the key here is that if you opt to show small snippets of the ‘creatures’, you need to be able to build an atmosphere for the remaining time they are not on screen…
Catskill Park doesn’t manage this.
Don’t get me wrong – not a terrible film, but very generic and relying heavily on previous Found Footage tricks.