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Cloverfield

A movie directed by Matt Reeves

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Well, I guess it's alive.

  • May 17, 2011
Rating:
+4
***1/2 out of ****

I've gotten tired of the gimmicky "found-footage" style of filmmaking, especially in horror films. I love the horror genre for many reasons, and these films...they have plagued it with the same old approach. However, "Cloverfield", in spite of its premise, offers something new for movie-goers. Think of is as "Godzilla", but if it had been filmed with a piece-of-shit camcorder. Also, the monster here isn't Japanese.

In the end, I think there are three main people responsible for "Cloverfield". One is the producer, J.J Abrams, who does more than a producer probably should do when contributing to the film. And then there's the director, Matt Reeves, who is very, very talented. Then there's the writer, Drew Goddard, who pens a script that knows how to make us the film's personal bitch. Flaws and nerdy-fan-base aside, "Cloverfield" scared the heck out of me.

I like the approach of horror films when they begin with showing happier, calmer times for the characters, and then...something occurs. This is what happens here. We do indeed begin by showing our characters happy, partying, and some quite drunk; in New York City, no doubt. A handful of them are preparing a going-away-to-Japan party for their buddy Rob (Michael Stahl-David), so this is what we see them doing. The entire film is shot in "shaky-cam" style, courtesy of the character Hud (played by T.J. Miller), who is initially told to document the party and the going-away confessions from the guests, but ends up filming a whole lot more.

The party is unexpectedly crashed when the ground shakes violently. This is a good party-pooping kind of thing, and it only gets worse. We see an explosion; thought to be not an earthquake, but a terrorist attack. However, these attacks begin to get even more abnormal, and this compels Rob, Hud, Lily (Jessica Lucas), Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), and Rob's brother Jason (Mike Vogel) to escape from the building and onto the streets.

Soon enough, it becomes clear that this is not the work of a terrorist; but something very big, very pissed, and very alive. A beast looms over New York, eating things; destroying things; and terrorizing many. From the pores of the creature fall hundreds-to-thousands of parasite-like beings that are so repulsive in appearance that they even send the subway vermin a-running'.

I guess what works here is the style, which as I said, is what I'd normally try my hardest (yes, you heard right) to complain about. Here, it actually helps the movie. The characters are likable, and there are a few who I actually cared about. Hud is one of them; the guy who films the whole affair, and even adds his unnecessary (but always funny) humor into the mix. In one moment, his sense of humor actually helps one character relieve herself of great pain. The creature, on the other hand, is a character of its own. It does not have a personality, but the FX used to create it looks fantastic. This film needed to be handled by people with money, because you can't have a shitty looking monster unless you don't intend on showing it. And that's not what happens here; even if the monster is kind of scared of the camera to begin with. But that's what makes it all work.

"Cloverfield" is an experience and a ride. It's what a true horror movie should be, and it gets terror out of the strangest things. It goes for thrills, scares, and honest love for its genre. Abrams wanted to make the "American equivalent of Godzilla", and he's made it. Even if the "Clover" monster hasn't gone on to receive such equal fame. But who really cares about that? "Cloverfield" stands as one of the best "internet phenomenon" films, and it does not disappoint for those who pondered the mystery that once surrounded its existence, its production, and what the damn thing was even about. It's also one of the best films where you can finish it, sit down, take a deep breath, and say to yourself: "I just survived "Cloverfield"."

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More Cloverfield reviews
review by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
When one thinks of "Cloverfield" (2008) the awesome "hyped-up" trailer comes to mind. The teaser trailer was very well-marketed and does grab our attention. J.J. Abrams (Mission Impossible, Lost) definitely knows how to arouse the curiosity and attention of moviegoers. Now, the only problem with hyping up a film so much is that it either works or it doesn't. Hype can definitely work in putting people on theater seats but once word gets out that the film is "anything …
review by . February 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Godzilla on steroids
  When reviewing Cloverfield obvious comparisons to movies like Godzilla are easy to make, but this film is so much more then a simple monster bash. Cloverfield is a wild mix of Godzilla like monster fun, blended with The Blair Witch Project camera style and Jaws (30th Anniversary Edition) like suspense all blended together to make one of the most perfect monster/disaster/horror films of the modern day.       First off lets give some credit to the incredible job the producers …
review by . May 28, 2009
WTF???
I highly recommend watching Cloverfield this year or any other year ...if you are being held at gunpoint. Otherwise, you are free to skip it as I wish I had. Thankfully, a friend bought me the movie ticket & I even felt sorry for the poor chap afterwards having to invest money on this hunk of steaming crap.       I have heard all the rumours on how Cloverfield is the new Blair Witch Project. Just forget it! Blair Witch Project & Cloverfield …
review by . February 09, 2009
Just like many of you, when I saw the preview for this film I instantly dubbed it "a must see". What can I say? Something about the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling down the streets of Manhattan had me hooked. More importantly I couldn't wait to find out what exactly was causing this carnage. So it was with great expectations I strapped myself in for what was sure to be an incredible ride.      Now I could go on and on here about who the cast is but you would have no idea …
review by . April 28, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Special effects, pacing      Cons: Nothing original, terrible narrator, very shaky camera--not for the motion sick.      The Bottom Line: If you've watched half a dozen scary or alien movies, then Cloverfield stole part of it; still there's enough to entertain.  Warning if you are prone to motionsickness, skip it.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Cloverfield is the …
review by . August 02, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
To give the utmost atmosphere of authenticity, `Cloverfield' films all its monster movie proceedings as though an amateur were using an average video camera. All the starts and stops of footage are effective enough, and the glimpses of the modern equivalent of New York City's Godzilla keep tangible, but not always present.     Just like all disaster pictures, the prologue introduces us to all of the characters. We need to know and care about them. Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) …
review by . July 05, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
The idea behind the film is clever, even if it is a bit obvious -- to the point where it's surprising nobody has done anything quite like it, or at least nothing on a similar scale. Somebody thought, let's make a monster mayhem flick but instead of a blockbuster make it an indie, shot amateur style: Godzilla meets the Blair Witch. That allows them to economize on the special effects, using sparing effects that would work on tv but not on the big screen -- but when shot on a consumer video camera …
review by . November 03, 2008
You know a movie is bad when it is set in New York but named after a road in Santa Monica, CA..... This gives you an idea how unimaginative and mindless the movie is.    I didn't mind the cinimatography. However there wasn't really a plot to peak of, the characters were pretty lame, and the monster was pretty one-dimensional. In general, I say don't bother with this movie.
review by . October 02, 2008
Pros: no pros in this film     Cons: darkness overrides production     The Bottom Line:   "No one knows what I am  No one knows why I did it   No one knows from where I come  I am Clovie!"  ~wjmmovieman         For once I get to bash a monster flick in the same decade as it was released. Never seeing any trailers for this film, and reading only summary comments from viewers, …
review by . September 08, 2008
Now that all the hype has die down I was able to give this film an objective look. I have to admit I was impressed. This movie throws out the music, set-ups, and cheap scares out the window - in a good way. Nothing in this movie tells you you're watching a movie of course. You're completely disorientated from start to finish, completely uncomfortable and on edge. And that is a hell of an achievement in today's de-sensitized movie environment. While I didn't jump once, I did find myself clutching …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #5
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

One of the first things a viewer notices aboutCloverfieldis that it doesn't play by ordinary storytelling rules, making this intriguing horror film as much a novelty as an event. Told from the vertiginous point-of-view of a camcorder-wielding group of friends,Cloverfieldbegins like a primetime television soap opera about young Manhattanites coping with changes in their personal lives. Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is leaving New York to take an executive job at a company in Japan. At his goodbye party in a crowded loft, Rob’s brother Jason (Mike Vogel) hands a camcorder to best friend Hud (T.J. Miller), who proceeds to tape the proceedings over old footage of Rob’s ex-girlfriend, Beth (Odette Yustman)--images shot during happy times in that now-defunct relationship. Naturally, Beth shows up at the party with a new beau, bumming Rob out completely. Just before one's eyes glaze over from all this heartbreaking stuff (captured by Hud, who's something of a doofus, in laughably shaky camerawork), the unexpected happens: New York is suddenly under attack from a Godzilla-like monster stomping through midtown and destroying everything and everybody in sight. Rob and company hit the streets, but rather than run with other evacuees, they head toward the center of the storm so that Rob can rescue an injured Beth. There are casualties along the way, but the journey into fear is fascinating and immediate if emotionally remote--a consequence of seeing these proceedings...
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Details

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: January 18, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 25min
First to Review

"The Monster Takes Manhattan"
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