(Big spoiler alert). When I saw this, I really had no idea of what I was about to see. And it worked. Maybe I have a romantic idea of cinema. And that is why I don't like the idea of trailers. And think spoiler alerts are useful. The ideal would be to seat and have no idea of what you are about to see (and then see good cinema of course). Well, something huge, disaster movie like shot home video style. Monster!...
A triumph of marketing back in 2008 this is one of the few 'found document' films that can hold up to its conceit for its full running time. 6 years later it is still an exciting and often exhilarating watch. Performances and characterizations may go by the wayside but it certainly does deliver the adrenaline rush. Creature design doesn't live up to the genre but the choice to keep its appearances meager a good one.
It spends way too much time setting up the personal relationships of a pretty annoying cast - including an unconvincing romantic subplot that stretches throughout, but once the destruction gets started, the fun begins. An original concept with some dazzling special effects, for shear monster movie blockbuster spectacle, this one delivers. It's flaws are clear, but it's enough explosive fun to be worth it.
The cast (with the exception of Lizzy Caplan) consists of CW extras that you could give flying fuck if they lived or died. The shaky found footage concept does put you in the moment, somehow I was still bored. The monsters look like they're straight out of DOOM. The tape switching back and forth between past and present makes no sense, once you tape over something ITS FUCKING GONE.
If its appropriation of 9/11 imagery is cheap then its impact is a bargain. Composed of fragments that register subconsciously, the subjective style evokes the contemporary horror of witnessing the catastrophic while lacking the guidance of authority, be it a politician or an omniscient camera. Collateral damage to monuments may be cliché, but DV finally gives Lady Liberty's decapitation a power beyond the symbolic.