Starring: A bunch of unknowns...Michael Stahl-David, comedian T.J. Miller
Directed By: Matt Reeves (JJ Abrams' buddy)
The Gist: A giant monster attacks NYC and it's all filmed on a handy-cam by a group of friends.
A lot of reviews I've read or watched of Cloverfield say that the internet buzz that surrounded the film and the trailer were better and more fulfilling than the film. I have to say, I don't agree. When I first saw the trailer for what was then called 1.18.08 I immediately decided I wanted media blackout on this one. No rumours, no stills and no extended trailer. I thought, now that's pretty clever...no one does that anymore. Here was a trailer for a movie I'd never even heard of, which is exactly what JJ Abrams, the mind behind Cloverfield, wanted.
The reason for the media blackout was in part because of Snakes on a Plane. I absolutely devoured anything I could about that movie before it came out, and to be honest it was exactly what I thought it would be which after all the build up, left me feeling slightly flat.
Cloverfield then, would seem fresh or more than what I expected if my plan worked...which I'm happy to say it did. The movie is filmed almost entirely by a handicam that character Hud is operating while drunk and extremely frightened, so as you can imagine it's very shaky. People complained that every time the monster was in sight, the camera turned away. This worked for two reasons. One...when you are scared of some huge monster, you turn and run and two...it saves the 'big reveal' of the giant creature until the end of the film. Build up to payoff...an old movie trick, but a goodie.
The actors in this movie do a great job of accurately representing their characters...scared, upset and exhausted. You wouldn't believe they are little known actors and you can see that a few of them have some bright lights in their big city futures. Bring on the fake tans and porcelain veneers.
So, while watching Cloverfield, I was truly frightened and overwhelmed by it. I thought the movie worked because it captured terror and panic perfectly. I felt so claustrophobic when they were and felt my heart race when they ran. When the monster was finally there in front of my face, I gasped, really. I think that's the whole point isn't it? That a movie is an experience and if it's fun and has some effect on you then it was worth it.
I felt uneasy for 2 hours after seeing Cloverfield and had a brief anxious moment the next day when I remembered it. The effect of the handicam makes you almost believe it's your memory, and that it happened to you. Almost.
Cloverfield was really entertaining and I enjoyed the entire concept. Go see it if you liked Godzilla, and if you can actually imagine what it would be like if something similar occurred in your area. Don't see it if you are going to make 'reality' comparisons...this has never happened and probably (hopefully) never will. It's made-up!
Cloverfield gets 4/5 FUNTASTIC STARS!