The most distinctive aspect of “Kaaterskill Falls” — its almost completely improvised story and dialogue — also proves to be its biggest shortcoming. Improv approach doesn’t work for this would-be tense psychological thriller; instead of lending realism, here it creates tedium. Sorely lacking in focus and overall emotional continuity, pic looks headed over the falls into the drink.
Driving through the Catskills, a young married couple picks up a quiet, strange-looking hitchhiker. Eventually they invite him to dinner and to spend the night in their motel. The improvisation, with erratic shifts in tone and characterization, leaves the audience wondering about the couple’s lack of basic common sense and hard-pressed to feel sympathy for their plight. Not helping matters is the fact that the husband and wife are generally portrayed as inept throughout the film, finding problems in such basic activities as cooking and opening a bottle of wine, and engaging in arguments that are just this side of farce.