Cloverfield review

When that freaky as hell trailer for Cloverfield came out a few months ago, I couldn’t not see it. It was one of the most awe inspiring trailers of all time. They didn’t even tell you the name!

They the viral marketing campaign started. It was a mystery, and we all loooove mysteries. Especially me. I have a secret fantasy of being a detective. Sometimes at night I turn out the lights, throw a blanket over my head and pretend I’m Batman. … But that’s neither here nor there. Not long ago, I found out the oddly titled Cloverfield was being produced by JJ Abrams. I’m a huuuuuuge fan of Alias. So right away, I’m interested. Then they announced that it was written by Drew Goddard, one of Joss Whedon’s boys (Angel) and one of the creators of the very excellent (and short lived) Drive. So Cloverfield was looking thumbs up.

So was it up to snuff? I’d say so, yeah. I mean, it was a monster movie, not high art. But what I saw on that screen was a gripping, nerve racking flick, filled with humanity. It’s funny, but the film runs across a large portion of the sprawling metropolis that is New York City, and yet the hand held cameras that were used makes you feel almost claustrophobic at times. The whole movie was first person, a thought that I’ve had from time to time, but never could figure out how to make it work. They did. It works.

And it is very emotional. There’s scene where one character tells a woman over the phone that her son is dead. Just hearing him wrench the words out of his mouth… I admit it… I choked up. And there are a lot of other truly human moments that will make you feel for these people.

I’ve heard people squawk at the supposed September 11th references. Those people can bite it. Cloverfield isn’t a metaphor (at least not for that), it’s a monster movie; meant to be seen and enjoyed in a theatre with a bunch of geeks looking to see Lost and drunks looking to cop a feel off of their girlfriends during the “jumpy” moments. Don’t read too much into it.

The cinematography for this film is obviously a different animal than anything else you’ve seen. People have been getting motion sickness from the constant bouncing of the camera; some have even vomited. They made me read a waver before I could go see it. But it really isn’t that bad. … Okay, it is. Just don’t sit to close to the screen and you should be fine. I didn’t get nauseous once. But the way they shot it is what made the movie great. There were moments where I literally felt like I was in the movie. And the special effects were flawless. The monsters were gruesome, and creepy. And they sort of looked like spiders, which really freaked me out. Though you never get a clear glimpse of any of them, just enough to make you want to run.

Others have dismissed the film based on false claims that it’s merely The Blair Witch Project redux. Basically anyone who says that really doesn’t understand what the tBWP was. It isn’t a horror movie. You never actually see the witch. If anything it’s a fake documentary. The people who went to see it thinking it was a true life horror film weren’t paying attention. There are similarities beyond the hand held cameras, but at no time did I note that it felt like I was watching the Blair Witch. For one thing, this film was scripted. tBWP was at best outlined, but mainly improv.

Basically, it’s a crazy, interesting movie with a lot of intense character moments and a poignant ending that will move you . I don’t like horror films, but I liked Cloverfield.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Loree on January 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

    That whole Batman thing got me a little warm. Does that make me bad?

    I am so out of the loop. I should probably see a movie this year – I think I missed ’07 entirely.

    Reply

  2. Posted by geist0 on January 23, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    No. I’m a very sexy Batman.

    Well, if you only see one movie this year… don’t see this. Go with Fanboys (if it ever comes out) or something else that’s funny.

    2007 had a few really good movies. You should watch Superbad, if only for the dancing.

    Reply

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