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Cloverfield (2008)

Some Thing Has Found Us

Starring:

Anjul Nigam

Brian Klugman

Jessica Lucas

Lizzy Caplan

Margot Farley

Michael Stahl-David

Mike Vogel

Odette Annable

T.J. Miller

Theo Rossi

Directed by:

Matt Reeves

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 85 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Cloverfield opens with a party and introduces us to five twenty-something New Yorkers, including Rob (Stahl-David) who’s going away to Japan, his crush Beth (Yustman), his brother Jason (Vogel) and Hud (Miller) – the friend who has decided to capture every moment on camera.  Unfortunately the party is interrupted by the appearance of a mysterious giant monster replete with tentacles, scales and a huge tail hell bent on destroying NYC. As the armed forces evacuate the city and try to fight the monster, the group of friends are forced to go back into the fray as they are split up from Beth

Matt Reeve’s movie is shot throughout on a handheld camera and captures the atmosphere of the end of the world perfectly and the invasive quality provides a great point of view to get to know the protagonists. This slightly revolutionary idea set the scene for a number of similar efforts over a range of genres. Normally, the end-of-the-worlder introduces a cavalcade of characters you can barely remember, keep a track of or care about but Cloverfield just gives us a handful of good friends which ties in nicely with the personal element of the film.

The subplot revolving around earlier memories that come from the being recorded over is a nice touch and gives a bit of background to the characters in a subtle and original manner. A nice touch is the lack of explanation regarding the monster so the usual explanation overload that usually leads to incredulity and disappointment is absent here. Also, many main junctures in the story are left ambiguous and upto the audience to decide therefore lending the movie decent after-viewing talking points and subsequently longevity.

The only real quibble comes with the climax of the film as Matt Reeve seems to have run out of ideas towards the end and, in my opinion, the wrong ending was chosen.

It's Got: A novel apocalyptic idea, an engrossing story, nicely ambiguous moments

It Needs: A slightly less messy ending

DVD Extras Making Of, I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge! and Visual Effects featurettes, deleted scenes, outtakes, commentary and alternate endings - a great selection of extras to supplement the film DVD Extras Rating: 9/10

Alternatives:

[Rec], Panic Attack (Youtube effort - look it up), Skyline, The Blair Witch Project

Summary

A First Class First-Person apocalypse film that nicely mixes things up and credits its audience with a bit of intelligence.

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