Friday, January 18, 2008
Movie Reviews: CLOVERFIELD
Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) has just gotten a new job, except he's going to have to move from NYC to Tokyo to take it. On the eve of his departure, Rob's brother Jason (Mike Vogel) throws a surprise going-away party that's interrupted when a giant monster attacks the city. Receiving a panicked phone call from his ex-girlfriend Beth (Odette Yustman), Rob races through the destruction with several of his friends to save her.
Cast Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller (more)
Director(s) Matt Reeves
Writer(s) Drew Goddard
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date Jan. 18, 2008
Running Time 90 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for violence, terror and disturbing images
The genius of Cloverfield is not its point of view shooting style, done before famously in both The Blair Witch Project and Cannibal Holocaust, but instead in using that style to make well worn conceits seem fresh and new. Cloverfield is a gripping, at times thrilling, ride of a film that uses its 90 minutes of celluloid to its fullest effect. Matt Reeves, doing J.J. Abrams leg work here, gives the audience just enough character development to make the players in this horrific fun ride more than just faceless cut outs. Once we are introduced to the cast of characters and the monster makes it's appearance there are a few scenes that strike eerily close to reality especially considering the New York setting that maybe upsetting to some still overly sensitive to the events of 9-11. Once those moments pass we are subjected to a first person trek through a nightmarish, occasionally claustrophobic, suburban labyrinth with a monster or monsters lurking around any corner. Matt Reeves gives the audience just enough glimpses of the main beasty to placate most curiosity and maintain a solid sense of realism and sense of urgency. It doesn't quite have the sincerity of The Blair Witch Project as this feels more staged and some of the acting is down right laughable. It doesn't help that the characters make brain dead decisions pretty much throughout. That being said the characters are never the main point of emphasis instead it feels more like they are scurrying around in the background of a monster movie we never see. Plot wise, Cloverfield is derivate borrowing heavily from monster movies and borrowing a classic zombie movie ending, in other words there is nothing that will shock you if you were to read a synopsis but the actual experience is so much more enjoyable.