Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Cloverfield (2008)

Ranking: Yeah
Trashiness: Not Particularly Trashy

Okay, I know a lot of people really hated this movie, probably on account of it being so hyped or something. Granted, it wasn't extremely intellectual. It was a big fucking monster movie, dammit. It was supposed to be pedestrian.

For those among us unfamiliar with the premise, it is a first person, Blair Witch style account of what happens when aforementioned big fucking monster attacks New York City, destroying all the requisite landmarks (trade towers not included). The survivors run around the city doing stuff and trying not to die.

There are some basic problems with the film. For instance, nothing - absolutely nothing - happens for the first 20 minutes of the film (that does add to the 'realism' of the film. The characters don't just pick up a video camera with a blank tape. There's other stuff on there). There's a lot of artificial tension generated between the characters. And dumbass keeps the camera rolling when doing dangerous things such as crossing from the roof of one building to another, running around in the dark or being eaten (spoilers). I kept shouting 'camera down, asshole'. That was irritating, but there wasn't really an easy way around it.

I'm sure the constant jostling camera was annoying as fuck in the theatre, but it looked fine on my camera. I kept thinking that the picture quality was really good considering it was supposed to be shot on an ordinary digital camera. My camera sure as shit don't take that high quality video. It was probably shot on film.

However, despite those few little irks, I thought it was generally pretty effective and remarkably understated in spots. It never went out of its way to explain the inexplicable (supposedly the film hints at the monster's origins, but we never find out exactly what the monster is or where it came from - it's just there. That's enough) and it used CGI FX sparingly, so the film didn't look like total shit.

And bits of it actually did freak me out. It was all gross-out factor - the characters were totally two dimensional, I didn't really give a shit about them. Those bug things were nasty though, man. Fuck.

Interesting, well done post 9/11 monster film (I could probably write an essay on how 9/11 has effected the face of horror films, but I'm not gonna).


Directed by: Matt Reeves. Written by: Drew Goddard. Starring: Michael Stahl-David, Odette Yustman, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Vogel.

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