Cloverfield (2008)

Set to move to Japan, Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is surprised by his friends and brother (Mike Vogel) who have organised a party to see him off before he leaves. Best friend Hud (T. J. Miller) has endeavoured to film the party, using his role as cameraman to unsuccessfully flirt with Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) and spy on Rob’s ex, Beth (Odette Yustman). Having inadvertently taped over a recording of Rob and Beth when they were dating, the pending action is intercut with brief the recording of the couples first date at Coney Island – triggered by events which cause the current recording to stop and start. When the party’s power cuts out as the result of an apparent earthquake, the friends make their way onto the roof to see if there has been any damage. When an explosion devastates Manhattan – and the groups retreat to the street is greated with the decapitated head of The Statue of Liberty – a desperate fight for survival begins as Rob, Beth, Hud, Jason, Marlena and Lily (Jessica Lucas) are caught in a battle between the state army and a leviathon of unknown origin.

Fresh of the back of other such found footage features, including The Blair Witch Project, REC and Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield ditches the legends, zombies and poltergeists in favour of a whopping great monster. Using its hand-held methodology to further obscure the creature, tension is expertly maintained as we witness the beast’s impact on the city. Although the found footage fad has significantly lost its impact over recent years, it is easy to forget just how well it is used in Cloverfield – both posing a vaguely plausible reason for the camera’s continued presence and also showing just enough to keep the audience interested.

Directed by Matt Reeves, and written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Drew Goddard, Cloverfield is more than just a generic monster movie. With the genre affording greater immersion that your average cinematography, it often feels like you are there with the characters. A combination of incredibly natural dialogue and winning performances from everyone, the film really draws you into its narrative and holds onto you until the necessarily shocking conclusion. Not that the monster disappoints; an organic, well developed creature, the Cloverfield monster is worth the wait to see it in full view. Boasting a life-cycle that homages Alien‘s xenomorphs, the threat is constant – whether the characters are indoors, underground or sprinting through Central Park.

A rewarding thriller that is only enhanced by its found-footage element, Cloverfield is a well written, beautifully acted and expertly directed monster movie which stands up admirably to repeated viewings.


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Cloverfield (2008)

  1. Pingback: January 2011 – It’s on like Donkey Kong « popcornaddict

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