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Class Action Park (2020)

New Jersey is known for having some of the classiest people in the world. They are often willing to lend a hand, lift people up (physically and mentally), and genuinely care about the people around them. (Dwight Schrute voice*) False! They are the complete opposite! They are aggressive, abusive, and a breed all their own. Couple this with a go-getter, money hungry brute, and Action Park is born. In 1978 Eugene Mulvihill opened this theme park of sorts in Vernon, NJ as a twisted, dangerous, and simple way to make money. Mulvihill didn’t care about laws, rules, or the potential for lawsuits, leaving the door open for numerous injuries and deaths. While he continued to work his hardest to keep his business afloat, lawsuits filed in, providing many the opportunity to refer to this theme park as Class Action Park.

Documentaries typically serve one purpose, to tell a true story to an audience through a series of interviews and testimonials. These stories are often entertaining and contain the ability to express a story in a simple and effective manner. Class Action Park, however, tells a story that seems entirely impossible. The shock factor that propels this story of blood, gore and, untimely death is unlike anything seen in film. The fact of the matter is that everything taking place throughout this film is true, and utterly devastating--but the shock factor present throughout Class Action Park is truly phenomenal.

Dozens of individuals: former security guards, guests of Class Action Park, and Mulvihill’s son (Andrew Mulvihill), drive this documentary directed by Seth Porges and Chris Charles Scott III. Their testimonies bring to light some of the atrocities that kept this theme park afloat and led E. Mulvihill toward success. Sometimes interviewees can be a little suspect due to their relationship with the content of the documentary. However, the legitimacy of what everyone says throughout Class Action Park never comes into question due to the fact that they are all willing to express both sides of what took place throughout the park’s existence. The honesty and the passion that drives each of the interviews contributes greatly to how well Class Action Park is received by the public, and it truly invites the viewers into this mess of a story.

Chris Gethard is one of the best examples of Jersey that Porges and Scott III could have found. The description of his experiences, his “f**k you” attitude, and his unwillingness to relent when telling stories of the messed up things that took place at Class Action Park define what someone from New Jersey looks like. While the interviewees in general were fantastic and were able to paint vivid pictures of what took place in the 1980’s, Gethard is the one who best explains and brings those stories to life. However, through the profanities and hysterically accurate comments, Gethard bares all and expresses just how screwed up this theme park was. His storytelling ability and the fashion in which he is able to manipulate his words to express just the right thought or emotion is impressive and important to the success of the documentary.

Class Action Park, as the infamous Action Park came to be known as, attracted miscreants throughout New York and New Jersey, creating an atmosphere less than conducive to a safe environment. This documentary perfectly sums up what life was like as the owner, employees, and guests of the dangerous amusement park, inviting viewers into this world of lies and treachery. Brilliant interviews with a series of unique and honest individuals makes way for great success and has viewers laughing and crying as they hear how insane Class Action Park truly was. This is one of the most entertaining and enthralling documentaries that I’ve seen to date, fully immersing me in a world of wreckless entertainment.

Directed by Seth Porges & Chris Charles III. Written by Seth Porges. Starring Mary Pilon, Jim DeSaye, Chris Gethard, Andrew Mulvihill, Jessi Paladini, etc.




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