In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cloverfield Review

Cloverfield had me from day one, back when I first saw the teaser trailer in front of The Transformers. I really have to hand it to JJ Abrams for being able to keep the details of this project under wraps for the last six months. I didn’t realize how MUCH I had been anticipating this movie until it started and for the first fifteen minutes, I couldn’t get my leg to stop shaking.

Cloverfield is well executed, accomplishing what it sets out to do in fine fashion. The idea of retelling an old story with a modern approach – from the point of view of the people on the street – is a stroke of genius. There is a certain truth to it. The sequence where people are standing around taking pictures of the severed head of the Statue Of Liberty when they should running like hell speaks volumes about today’s YouTube generation. It was stuff like that, that made some of the other more questionable logic leaps easier to swallow.

The thing I was most apprehensive about going in, was the BIG REVEAL. How would the CGI hold up? I think it succeeds for the most part. The effects are at their best, when it is most important. Also, the shaky-cam didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Like a similar film I saw recently ([REC], to be remade here as Quarantined), the filmmakers are skilled enough to make sure you see everything you need to see, even in all the chaos. Speaking of Quarantined, Cloverfield has unfortunately taken most of the wind out of its sails. Quarantined has the exact same narrative (though on a smaller scale) and will probably be frowned upon by the uninformed, as a copycat.

Cloverfield really stretches its PG rating. In all the commotion, I didn’t even notice the lack of swearing until someone pointed it out to me later. It makes sense though. In the same situation, I wouldn’t be screaming “Oh my God! Oh my God!”, but rather “Holy shit fuck! Jesus motherfucking Christ in a sidecar!”

A funny thing is that even after the movie has played itself out, there is still a great deal that remains a mystery. This is however, not frustrating, like Abram’s other pet project, Lost. I don’t think Cloverfield blew me away as much as the first time I saw The Blair Witch Project (the pioneer of this technique, at least in the mainstream) though. That’s not due to any weakness on Cloverfield’s part, but rather just the simple truth that you can’t go home again.

Cloverfield is an intense theatre experience and I urge everyone to check it out. Just don’t sit too close to the screen!

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