Cloverfield (2008) – Matt Reeves


Those big, city destroying monsters seem to be everywhere (may be time to watch Pacific Rim again – I like it, so there)…

The final recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book from my screening of King Kong, is this take on the kaiju genre that marries it with the found footage one.

I loved the idea of this movie, and of course, rushed right out to see it when it did, I had followed all the viral stuff online, all the little side tangents that sprang up everywhere, and despite that the one thing my brain didn’t connect with was… found footage.

I don’t have a problem with the genre per se, except for the fact that it seems incredibly over done, I do have a problem with big shakey images on a large screen. I tend to get a little queasy. Wasn’t the smartest move on my behalf going to see it in the theatre. So it wasn’t the best experience for me, watching it out of the corner of my eye to make sure my popcorn didn’t vacate my tummy.

On my home screen it’s always been much easier to watch, and I was quite happy to sit down and take another look at this one…

Rob (Michael Stahl-David) has just been tapped to move to Japan for his new job, leaving behind his friends, his beloved NYC and one of his best friends, who he has just had a romantic entanglement with, Beth (Odette Annable).


His friends throw him a going away party, all documented on camera by Hud (T.J. Miller) who spends a portion of the time stalking his crush Marlena (Lizzy Caplan).

After a bit of a blow-up with Beth, who shows up with a new fella and promptly leaves with him again, things get wacky for this group of friends, and all of New York, when something is awakened, and has come out of the ocean, trashing the city, and seems to be completely unstoppable.

Instead of thrusting us right into the middle of the fight with this terrifying and giant creature, the film follows Rob and a group of wannabe survivors as they navigate through the city, trying to avoid attacks, crumbling buildings, and infested subway tunnels, all to reach Beth, who called Rob during the attack, and needs help.

The film moves fast, and runs just as long as a DV-8 tape would, which is what Hud is using, and has some great sequences. We don’t get to learn lots about the monster, though the last shot of the film, which is a flashback (Hud is recording over a tape that is very special to Rob, and it’s images sometimes pop up through the film, as well as others from classic monster movies), that shows a satellite crashing into the ocean in the background.

It’s fun, well put together, sure the shakey cam can drive people, including me, nuts and queasy, but the film works for what it is, a nice take on the Kaiju genre…



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