Reviews of Cloverfield
Displaying all 5 reviews
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Drew Goddard
As the instigator of pseudo-documentary horror/sci-fi, four-years later, I finally got the chance to watch it, stripped down to the film per se, a 80 minutes running time has testified the audience’s extreme endurance toward the dizziness side effect thanks to the unbreakable Super 8 which could shoot 8 hours non-stop, surely with an ultra-battery.
This J.J. Abrams co-produced work was a tremendous success in the spring box office at its time and astutely centers on a firsthand POV of a group of average Joes, facing an unknown monster ravaging Manhattan, in order to keep the DV on the spot, leading by a tacky individual heroism, four friends goes back into the danger zone to rescue another friend in the name of love, clearly casualties are inevitable, but the viscerally thrilling involvement is the chief payoff owing to the vivid participation out of the shaky disturbance along the entire excursion, say the night vision adventure in the metro tunnel is a highlight.
Another great asset is the jaw-dropping SFX of the monster and the aftermath it creates, after tons of SFX mega-products’ impetus, this relatively low-budget film could still get some awesome wows which is simply remarkable and at least on an equal level with J.J.’s own DV-intrigued supernatural monster thriller SUPER 8 (2011).
Being a feigned fly-on-the-wall scheme, there is no room for scores except the solemn ending-credit “CLOVERFIELD OVERTURE” from Michael Giacchino, a surprisingly remarkable piece of work which I was not expected at all.
Anyway, I feel lucky I hadn’t watch the film in a screen time of a multiplex, I highly doubt myself could sustain the upsetting 80 minutes, which prompts a more innovative wake-up call in the realm of technology progress, we are in desperate seeking of the further development of a stable DV, maybe when that time arrives, a remake will be on the agenda.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
(Review written in January 2008)
I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody about this feature. I’ll just say it’s one of the best horror/suspense movies I’ve had the pleasure of watching in a theater. Whether you’re a genre fan or just curious, read no further and go see “Cloverfield” immediately.
The film’s sneaky ad campaign enticed without enlightening, not giving away any of the goods nor hinting at its surprising, thrilling quality. It delivers a visceral, suspenseful and powerful experience without using its hush-hush surprises as a crutch.
The only window into the apocalypse depicted in “Cloverfield” is through a consumer-grade camera, brought along by Jason Hawkins (Mike Vogel) to record his brother Rob’s (Michael Stahl-David) going away party. Their party is interrupted by Manhattan’s destruction, and their flight for survival is recorded almost entirely by their yuppie chum, Hud (T.J. Miller).
I think “Cloverfield” is a brave movie, because it’s a big-budget production that I thought worked as a cathartic outlet for 9/11. Its images and sounds are exactly like those of the attacks, the towering clouds of gray smoke billowing in the streets, the surreal metropolitan carnage and people running and screaming, and they are thrown on the silver screen for everyone to relive. It doesn’t celebrate the tragedy, but confronts it, and it’s an important movie for doing this, because few other worthwhile ones have. That undeniable association with the terrorist attacks lent urgency to the film characters’ already harrowing situation. By bringing elements of post-9/11 reality to the fore, layers of depth and gravity were added to what is otherwise an incredibly well-made B-Movie.
We go to the movies to leave reality behind, and “Cloverfield” is after-all an entertainment. The movie’s suspense builds confidently without resorting to cheap tricks, like not revealing too much of its insectoid monster too early.
Also, the cast is utterly convincing, acting like they’re really on the front row of the world being smashed to pieces. Any suspense/horror movie worth anything has awesome sound, and “Cloverfield” has it in spades. The booming, dynamic sound effects loom as ominously as the movie’s baddy.
Among all the praise, there is one big negative that some people might not overcome: the disorienting camera movements. I thought the handheld look was done much better in this movie than in, say, “28 Days Later,” because the action rarely blurred and most of the time had awesome clarity. I was used to the film style by the 5 minute mark. Still, some sections were nearly nausea inducing, so don’t go to a screening after a meal.
I had a great time with this movie, and questions still linger about its events. How did the U.S. Government get their hands on that tape? And how did that camera battery stay charged the whole time?
“Cloverfield” gets a whole-hearted recommendation. The 2008 movie year got started with a monstrous step in the right direction.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Cloverfield (aka Duderfield, Brahfield, etc.) comes across as a remake of the other American Godzilla movie (the one starring Ferris Bueller), only Cloverfield is somehow more generic and lacking any of that Godzilla’s few good qualities. It also suffers from the same Super Model Syndrome that Lost does, while the monster looks like some plastic enemy from an Xbox 360 game. In the end it is a film intended for fratboys and those with awkward goatee variations.
- Currently 1.0/5 Stars.
Out of the p.o.v. trend that hit not long ago this was the one film that stood out to me. Instead of a gimmick, the camera was used to create tension and fear. Besides the fact that characters dialogue was mostly just screaming and cursing, I ended up at least not HATING the characters. I do agree that its marketing campaign certainly exceeded the actual film, but at its core Cloverfield is still an entertaining monster movie.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
Cloverfield is a damn good time at the movies—something that one can’t say very often in January, the month usually utilized to dump films while Oscar-bait from the previous year gets released. Seeing the first teaser attached to Transformers in July literally gave me goosebumps at the potential for what it could be. I will admit that while the hype was high, the past couple months saw it wane. The gimmick started getting a tad stale and the tv spots began to ruin the momentum it carried so well before anyone knew what it was. Producer J.J. Abrams knew what he was doing, though, as the end result exceeded expectations, taking the colossal monster genre as background dressing for the human tale of love and regret which came up front and center. I just feel bad for director Matt Reeves and writer Drew Goddard because it is their film yet everyone describes it as Abrams’. Whoever deserves credit, they are receiving a ton from me. Every detail was painstakingly considered, there were actually some genuine scares (usually hard to come by for me), and the story had some weight and meaning, allowing the fine performances to have something to play for, rather than just running for their lives with egos and self-preservation the only thing worth living for.
My main fear was on whether we would see the monster and how that visual would ruin the movie. Stuff like this only truly works for me if the creature creating all the havoc is something foreboding and unseen, always lurking and able to attack at any moment. Here, though, we actually get a look at the behemoth pretty early. From its tale attack on the Brooklyn Bridge to its full visual on tv screens in a local electronics store, we know exactly what it is causing all the destruction. The beauty of the filmmakers is that they never needed the monster for the film to work. It is a secondary character used only as motivation for our lead Rob to hunt out his love Beth and a means to preventing him from reaching her easily. Maybe the world falling apart around them is the catalyst for their feelings to finally boil to the surface, however, the fight is always going on around them; it’s not about defeating the enemy, it is about living for something bigger then yourself, doing what you can for the people you love in a time of desperate need.
Cloverfield asks a lot of its actors throughout. Filmed on a first-person camera, there are many long takes and unbroken scenes to express the aesthetic choice of this being a real primary account of the invasion found later on after the smoke settles. Emotions run high, death takes a realistic toll on both body and mind, and adrenaline flows forth to keep these heroes on the run to get out of Manhattan alive and intact. Each holds his/her own to make it all seem real, injecting humor so that the bleak moments can break with levity. Death is starring them in the face and, like anyone of us would do in that situation, they try to mask their fear with laughter in order to release some of the tension building higher and higher inside of them. Michael Stahl-David, as Rob, is by far the best of the group. He needs to go from deeply in love to tragically scorned and angry, happily surprised by his friends to scared for his life, and confident to risk his own being for another to devastated as he must explain the death of someone close to him over the phone. His emotions run the gamut and he pulls them all off with grace. Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, and Odette Yustman hold their own with the immense pressure of their situation weighing down on them as well. When tragedy strikes, and it does often, they must react realistically to every situation. Special mention also goes to T.J. Miller as Hud Platt, our surrogate guide through the mayhem, acting as our camera operator, complete with commentary and comedic relief with every turn.
With the strong performances and the taut, simple script from Goddard, I have to praise the work of Reeves at helming the piece. With little to work with in order to have the audience relate to and rally behind these characters, we are thrust into the action pretty early on. Goddard crafted a yarn that succeeds from getting the small things right. Rather than go big budget effects, he relies on the human interactions to portray the action. Reeves understands this and allows for a brilliant documentary feel. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, be warned that the camera is very shaky and possibly even handled by Miller while he chases after his friends. The askew angles and amateurish cropping of frame add to this completely, keeping all the action truncated on the edges because if it were real, the viewer would only look when something catches his eye. Turning to see what they think they saw shows off the end result, increasing the fear and anticipation for what might come next. All the monster effects are adequately rendered and the utilization of digital camera tricks—fantastic use of nightvision in the subway, awesome instance of auto-focus confusion with Hud, and precise usage of the fact that this is all taping over a previously filmed event (Rob and Beth’s day out in Coney Island) which shows through wonderfully—shown to full effect. Complete with an ending that truly encapsulates what went on this fateful day in NYC, Cloverfield delivers on all its promises and becomes so much more than just Blair Witch Project mainstream. Every moment is real and touches you in a very personal way. It is an experience, a spectacle; not to be confused with the monster movies that only show you what is happening, this one puts you in the action, making you feel it all yourself.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.