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Cloverfield
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2008

Format: Movie
By:   Drew Goddard (writer)
Genre:   Monster flick
Review Date:   January 18, 2008
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)

"Whatever it is, it's winning." -- some Army guy.

I was suckered in by the viral business on the Internets. If I had no idea what it was about, that would have added a level to my enjoyment, but that was just impossible. They had to give us something, or no one would bother to go see it strictly for the unknown. I wouldn't go if it looked like it was just a love story.

So the Statue of Liberty head came down, and the monster sounds came out, and I was in. Of course I dig the giant monster movies. If you don't, you're crazy, because stomping and crushing is fun.

I'm not going to spoil anything majorly, but if you think I might ruin it for you, by all means, go here.

The legacy of the Lost monster. Not mentioned amid the talk of similarity to Blair Witch Project is the connection to the Lost monster.

Lost is produced by the same people, so it's a direct link. It was the neatest thing about Lost. The scariness was all in what we didn't see. When it turned out to be a wispy smoke thing that revealed your future or some junk like that, that blew. But on the plane those few minutes in the first episode was absolutely intense.

Cloverfield is those few minutes in that first episode, for an hour and a half.

The Blair Witch thing. I liked Blair Witch, which started viral marketing in 1999 before there was a name for it. Blair Witch is the scariest horror flick I have ever seen. It took away all the tools and crutches that horror movies use.

I like it, but I like it in such a way that I never want to see it again.

In the same way, Cloverfield stripped out the dramatic music and the wide-frame shots. All viewers see is what the dude holding the camera shoots. Some major scenes happen that aren't framed or lit properly. That's excellent.

The humans. My complaint in every single giant monster movie is the humans. Don't care. Need more monster.

But here it's different. The panicked, screaming crowd is in every monster movie. Here, the viewer is part of it. The first person viewpoint makes the most of chaos, although the humans hold it together better than I might expect.

They have a touch of Scooby Gang. They go willingly into a foreboding place, and they undertake an impossible quest. There is not really enough crying and freaking out.

And one of the girls walks the whole movie in heels. The pain in her feet was something to focus on, so a monster didn't seem so bad.

The viral marketing thing. I ain't got the time, baby. I just want to watch the movie. None of the viral stuff I saw means anything in the movie. That's hilarious.

Unless you spent lots of time trying to figure the stuff out, like organizing those photos on the 1-18-08 site. Then you'll feel like the kid in The Christmas Story. "Drink Ovaltine?!"

The guy with the camera. They tried to get unknown actors, but I saw the camera guy the night before on the sitcom Carpoolers. This is not his fault. He got another job since he filmed the movie. He's a wastoid doofus in both.

They really do show it. The monster, I mean. It does not look like any of the pictures of it that hit the Interweb. So: good surprise.

Cloverfield? At no time during any part of the movie do they mention the word or reference it that I saw.

But then, if they named it after something in the movie, they'd call it Oh God! Oh God! Eaaaaagggh! Run! Run! Run!

Which would have been awesome.


RevolutionSF editor Joe Crowe is like, your main dude.

 
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