Plot line: four people go to the woods in the Catskills and, after some bad behavior and drunken arguments, get jumped by space aliens which we never really see. Everybody runs around the woods in the dark at random while "emoting". Everybody gets dead after acting poorly for a long time. The end.
There isn't anything about found footage films that necessarily PRECLUDES such films from being good movies, but that is certainly the way things work out most of the time. CATSKILL PARK is all but conclusive proof of that statement.
What really seems to attract a would-be filmmaker to the found footage format is that you can make a movie for $5.42. Helping to keep the budget down (way, way, WAY down) is the nauseating little collection of stylistic copouts that have risen up around the genre to ENSURE that the budget STAYS down.
For example, the usual budget-killer of the paranormal or pseudo Science Fiction movie, the staggering costs of special-effects, can be completely dispensed with in the found footage movie. Any time the ghost or monster or flying saucer or space alien or whatever the thingy-du-jour may be for the movie at hand, the camera ALWAYS malfunctions whenever they come near. Because, you know, that's the effect they have on electronics and stuff. oooOOOoo! So for special-effects, just get a couple of cheap rubber masks at Walmart around Halloween and you're done. Hell, you could just draw a crummy face in lipstick on the bottom of a frying pan and no one would be the wiser. Nobody gets to see anything anyway.
And because it's found footage, no need to waste money on a good writer for a decent story. Most actors are desperate for employment so just give them a rough outline similar to what they've done thousands of times with "three-on-a-stage" while trying to "perfect their craft", along with a few emotive notes, and you're good to go.
And two or three cell phones with some passable built-in cameras and you have all the equipment you need. Almost anybody can be Ed Wood for a day. For cinéma vérité, you can even dress in women's clothing and a cashmere sweater and get the full experience.
CATSKILL PARK is an awful picture that should never have been made. It exploits the genre in every manner possible to dispense with any filmmaking art in every possible dimension. The only slightly redeeming element to the movie AT ALL is that there are OCCASIONALLY some creepy alien sounds that aren't terrible. Although, by the tenth time you've heard the same sounds, it does wear thin.
To be clear, the horribleness of this movie is not an intrinsic result of the fact that it is found footage. The horribleness of this movie is that a bunch of people invested NOTHING in their own movie hoping to make money for nothing. Wanting to make money is okay. Trying to do nothing worthwhile to get it is not.
Review by S_Soma from the Internet Movie Database.