Directed By: Matt Reeves
Starring: Michael Stahk-David, Mike Vogel, TJ Miller, Odette Yustman, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan
Subgenre: Creature Feature
Synopsis: A gigantic monster attacks New York City and a group of young party-goers attempts to rescue a friend amidst the carnage.
Thoughts: I admit I was hooked by Cloverfield well before ever seeing the movie. JJ Abrams put together one of the best viral marketing campaign ever leading up to the release of Cloverfield, utilizing the Internet, social networking and word of mouth.
Cloverfield is often looked at as a Godzilla rip-off, which probably has some merit, but Cloverfield focuses on the characters more so than the monster. Another stark difference is that Cloverfield utilizes a documentary style with a handheld camera, which was used to great effect in The Blair Witch Project. The camerawork is so frenetic, that as a viewer, I often found myself disoriented and dizzy trying to follow it. I am generally a fan of this sort of camera work, but it was a little tough to follow in Cloverfield.
As I said, the characters are the focus of the movie, and for me, are one of the weak points. I wasn’t really a fan of the characters and never really found myself caring for them. I get what they were trying to do with Hud, making him the lovable idiot, but I just found him to be annoying. That’s not to say that the actors did a poor job, but I just didn’t like the characters they portrayed.
The monster was pretty great, and I loved that it took some time to get a good look at the entire beast. The idea to add the spider creatures as an added threat was a good move, as it helped keep the tension within the movie. The FX were solid and not intrusive. My favorite scene, and really one of my favorites from the last couple of years, is when the head of the Statue of Liberty lands on the street. At that point, you knew you were in for a pretty wild ride.
I am a fan of Cloverfield and had a great time seeing it in the theatre. For me, the replay value isn’t great, but I think that has to do with my general dislike for the characters. The shaky cam isn’t for everyone either, but this is still worth checking out for fans of the giant monster genre.