Cloverfield (2008)

Cloverfield theatrical poster.jpgDoing the Monster Mash

Six young New Yorkers attend a going-away party on the night that a gigantic monster attacks the city.

If you've never seen this film before, then the best thing to do is to go in knowing as little as you possibly can. This review doesn't reveal any major plot points or surprises, so you can proceed without fear.

Rather than thrust the viewers straight into the monster movie, an attempt is made to establish the characters and get to know them enough so that we can care for them, rather than the opposite, which many of today's films are guilty of doing. While this is appreciated, this opening manages to run on for too long, with blabbermouth cameraman Hud making things feel tiresome.

But once the film enters monster movie territory, that's where it truly takes off. All throughout, it manages to greatly capture the fear and confusion that would be found within such a horrific scenario, while the demolished landscape makes for a most impressive sight.

The handheld camera work is well utilized, doing a good job of sucking the viewer in, making it feel like you actually are watching something recorded by someone who experienced it all, as opposed to watching a film. This is helped by not casting any big name stars, but relatively unknown actors who may be recognizable from other works, but not enough that it sucks you out of the experience, and it helps that all of their performances feels pretty genuine.

Despite the opening feeling overlong, Cloverfield manages to do a great job capturing the fear, confusion and the demolished landscape you would find in such a horrific scenario, creating an experience that will draw you in and shock you.