Archive: Cloverfield (2008) A Review

I have managed to see all the other films in this franchise without actually seeing the one that kickstarted it all.  It got a lot of praise when it came out, so I thought I would give it a try.

Certificate: 15

Director: Matt Reeves

Screenwriter: Drew Goddard

Starring: Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan

Genre: Action, Horror

Runtime: 85 Minutes

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

In the middle of a going away party, the city of New York is attacked by some kind of giant monster.  And a group of friends head deep into the city on a rescue mission to save another member of their group who is trapped, while trying to avoid the rampaging monster.

I love that at no point during this film do we actually get a real good shot of the monster.  The entire film is shot, purposefully, on a lower res, hand held camera, as the film is meant to have a found footage style a-la ‘Blair Witch.’  So although the camera has a shaky feel to it and it moves around a lot, it does add to the chaotic feel of the film.  We get plenty of shots of the smaller monsters, especially down in the subway tunnels, but the larger monster is only ever seen in part, or in a LOT of shadow.

It really captures what an attack like this would realistically look like I think.  The funniest thing being that when the attack starts the first thing people do is pull out their phones and start taking photos, and you can’t tell me that isn’t exactly what people would do if a giant monster started rampaging around their city.

 Everyone’s reactions seem pretty genuine, in fact the behaviour at the party at the beginning of the film seems more unrealistic to me then their reactions to the monster attack.  In movies, most personalities are always bigger than life, a slight caricature of the people they are meant to be portraying, but for the most part the characters seem believable to me.   Apart from maybe the guy holding the camera, whose exposition we hear the most, Hud.  I think his lovable, dumb personality with a hint of stoner, seems a little too stylised compared to all of the surrounding characters.

I have the same problem with this found footage film as I do with most films of this style.  A vast majority of it nothing really happens.  It’s just walking and talking interspersed with really great moments of suspense and tension.  I just wish there had been more horror and less talking.  Especially as most of the talking we are subjected to comes from the stoner guy.  It just means that there are portions of the film where I was just bored wating for the next exciting thing to happen.

10 Cloverfield Lane still remain my favourite in the franchise, but I am glad I have now seen where it started.  Even if found Footage films really aren’t my cup of tea.  Cloverfield tis available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime now.

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