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Cloverfield is not what you expect, well, not what you fully expect after seeing the trailers, reading the hype, and see the polarized opinions of the film pop up in the mainstream media. Yes, this is a monster movie, told from the perspective of a constantly whittled down number of party-goers who film their escape from Manhattan after an uninvited guest appears and crashes the festivities. The movie is so much more though, it’s filled to the brim with excitement, in a barrage of non-stop-thrills, seemingly coming one after another for 80 minutes.


Its like the ultimate monster movie told from the ultimate perspective, one of the fearful inhabitants of the city being rampaged, this movie just wouldn’t work any other way. If told from a third-party perspective it would just be another King Kong or Godzilla or similar monster movie with the audience clamoring for scientific explanation, resolution, logic, study, and the ultimate happy ending, you get none of these with Cloverfield, instead you’re treated to a unique film, told from an unique perspective that shines as one of the finest cinema experiences you’ve had in the young year, and possible in the last couple.

From the sheer ecstatic atmosphere seeing Transformers for the first time last July, Cloverfield presents a similar experience with a packed theater, an audience who was truly thrilled, surprised, and enveloped into the film. You don’t see this more than a few times a year in the jaded world of cinema we live in today, and when a film can embark so many different emotions from the audience, you have a true work of, dare I say it, art.


The film, again, is told from the perspective of a group of twentysomethings at a going away party for one of their friends. As the party winds down a series of earthquakes shake the city, and after a curious few journey outside do they see the beginnings of the longest night of their lives as the trailer’s money shot comes into focus and the head of the Statue of Liberty lands, conveniently, at their feet. As a member of the audience you become one of these party people, just struggling to survive as the populous borough is terrorized by this creature.

First time director Matt Reeves means business too, a sort of Joss Whedon type of business where main characters are as disposable as pieces of notepaper and it becomes nearly impossible to determine who will make it to the end of the film, if anyone. This is where a lot of the movie’s sheer thrill comes into play, each one of our main protagonists is beaten, battered, and bleeding as we approach the film’s main climax, and after a truly rocking scene at a military hospital, it becomes apparent that no one is safe.


There’s so much to like about Cloverfield it seems also pointless to find fault with the film, but the camera angle, as immersive as it is, is bound to turn off a lot of viewers because many will perceive it as a gimmick, and others will see this just as a Blair Witch meets Godzilla rip-off, too naïve to realize its so much more.

Those seeking the Hollywood ending or atypical plot devices explaining everything that’s going on will be simply disappointed. The film is about six hours of these people’s lives, that’s it, hardly ever do we get any additional information, and when you do, its in passing from military members who are simply trying to fend off the creature and get out of the city themselves. There’s a certain suspension of disbelief you need to maintain throughout the entire film, but if you do, the rewards billowing from the experience will leave you talking about the movie for days, weeks, even months until its pending DVD release.