Cloverfield

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Cloverfield -- J.J. Abrams reinvents the horror/monster genre (Absolutely NO Spoilers)

Jan 19, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:nail-biting presentation, exceptional camera technique, very original story, combination of horror/scares/monsters

Cons:none

The Bottom Line: This is an exciting and engaging film that should not be missed, and it succeeds on entertainment value on so many levels its a "must-see."


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Cloverfield created a buzz unlike any I have seen since the first preview for the 4th Star Wars film hit theaters. The original trailer for Cloverfield teased audiences everywhere with what looked to be some sort of monster film, but not committing to any specific genre of film. It didn't even give a title, keeping that, and most of the plot, shrouded in secrecy that only added to the allure of going to see the movie. Now it has finally hit theaters, and I have to say it lived up to that early buzz, and in my humble opinion, actually succeeded in setting a new standard for stories filmed in the horror and monster genre of films. J.J. Abrams made a name for himself with shows like Alias and Lost on television, and took it upon himself to bring something very original to the big screen with Cloverfield. He did not fail.

The story of Cloverfield is based in New York, starting with a going-away party for one of the main characters (Rob). In attendance are many of his closest friends, his best buddy Hud, his brother, and of course a recent flame that we learn something about right before that party. All of the characters get a little screen time to introduce their own personal stories, but don't expect too much character development, because this film is about their experiences, and not really what has led up to this point. During the party, held in a Manhattan apartment, something happens in the downtown area, and some figure it is just an Earth quake. An Earth quake in New York doesn't seem plausible to many of the characters, and they all rush to the roof to try to get a look at what is going on. This is where the story kicks into high gear, as some of them (and the audience) get a glimpse of what is happening to New York.

Now the thing that really sets this film apart from many other recent films, is that it uses a single camera to do all of the presentation within the story. That camera is a hand-held, operated by character Hud, who starts out just filming the party as a present to his buddy, but he soon becomes more of a documenter of what is happening to the city. That documentary is what the audience gets to see, and we are only able to see exactly what the camera can see. This is hard to deal with it times, because the camera gets shaky, but it really puts an added level of realism to the film, and gives you that feeling that you really are there with the characters. The filming technique will remind a lot of people of The Blair Witch Project, but with a bigger budget, and a lot better presentation of the story. If you didn't like how Blair Witch was filmed, you may not be able to enjoy this movie, but I loved how it really ramped up the reality of the situation for the characters in the story.

There are many elements to Cloverfield that really make the film shine, and it isn't just limited to the action or the great camera techniques. Writer Drew Goddard does an exceptional job on intertwining several different fears that people might encounter, and is able to depict them using methods that at times make you hold your breath, and at other times almost makes you want to shout at the characters to just get out of there, or turn left when they turn right. The "monster" within the story doesn't need to be explained in a review, because there is enough to go off in the movie, and I think it is best left for the viewer to decide what they think of the plot of the story. This particular movie-goer found the special effects to be exceptionally good, the camera tricks to be well-choreographed and in-depth, and the story to be strong enough to give you the believability but also leave you thinking about what might be happening without spoiling the flow with long explanations. I think Abrams has created an exciting and provocative film here, and in essence, has raised the bar for films in the genre after this one. I highly recommend Cloverfield, and suggest it to anyone looking for a great film in theaters.




Recommend this product? Yes

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