My "Cloverfield" Review (sans spoilers)

Jan 19 2008 Published by under Entertainment, Horror

The girlfriend and I just got back a little while ago from seeing Cloverfield and, this being a horror blog among other things, I thought I would give my impressions of the film (along with probably half the blogosphere).

In a word: excellent! For those who have been covering their ears and screeching, "La la la la la la!" for the past two months, Cloverfield is the first-person tale of several people who happen to be in New York City the night a skyscraper-sized monster attacks the city. The movie is essentially a "Blair Witch Godzilla", told in brief camcorder clips.

This is not a movie which gives many answers, which is as it should be. The best horror films 'hold their cards' close to their chest, and give away secrets only sparingly and for maximum effect. The intentional incompetence of the cameraman keeps a clear view of the beastie from the audience for quite some time, offering only disturbing hints of what has truly descended upon the city. The best comparison is the appearance of the alien in Alien. Never fear, though: you'll get a good look by the end.

But this film isn't supposed to be about answers: it's about experiencing a completely incomprehensible and overwhelming terror from the victim's point of view. In that, I found it nearly perfect, and am already considering a second viewing (something I haven't done in years). There are a number of nice little touches, and secrets tied to the viral marketing, that would make such a return rewarding.

There is very little opportunity to learn about the characters, but the film uses a very clever conceit to give us just enough background to care.

In conclusion, Cloverfield is an excellent, quick-paced horror film that tells a scary story and delivers pretty much everything that it promises. And the girlfriend liked it too!

5 responses so far

  • Personal Demon says:

    Critter 'n I saw the movie tonight. We both liked it (him more than I). We wish we hadn't liked it though, because we came up with quips that we would like to use in a really bittchy review. For example:

    "I kept hoping that the characters would die so that someone competent could pick up the camera."

    or maybe...

    "Gee, she runs really well for someone who had a spike of rebar through her chest in the previous scene."

    We have more, but they violate the "no spoiler" rules 🙁

  • PD wrote: “Gee, she runs really well for someone who had a spike of rebar through her chest in the previous scene.”

    You sound so smug, but until you've had a piece of rebar through your chest and then tried to run, I don't think you're any judge as to how easy it is!


  • babs67 says:

    PD - Good question regarding the rebar. I justified it by saying the pain from the chest wound would be an afterthought considering the alternative would be to get eaten by a giant scary creature. The adrenalin would probably mask any pain.

    On another note, the comments on the message board for this movie on IMDB have confirmed my suspicion that there are a lot of really dumb people in the world.

  • Personal Demon says:

    babs67: "The adrenalin would probably mask any pain."

    Adrenalin could probably mask the pain, yes. I'm not so sure adrenalin can mask a punctured lung. :-/ Sucking chest wounds kind of... er... suck.

    I would like to reiterate, though, that I did like the film. I'm not a hater.

    And with regards to IMDB... I can't even stand to read the comments anymore. I am SO glad that they are now locked to non-members. I used to waste hours, baffled at what people posted.

  • PD wrote: "I’m not so sure adrenalin can mask a punctured lung. :-/ Sucking chest wounds kind of… er… suck."

    Was it a chest wound, though? I thought it looked like more of a shoulder wound, though admittedly I wasn't giving it a clinical eye!

    "And with regards to IMDB… I can’t even stand to read the comments anymore. "

    There are still some thoughtful posters there that have genuinely interesting things to say. Unfortunately, I would guess that 50% of the poster are trolls who have far more time to waste online than the thoughtful types.