Matt Reeves directs the found footage horror film, Cloverfield as a group of friends in New York try and survive a sudden and unexplained attack on the city by a giant creature, also going on a mission to save a friend, the film stars Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan, Odette Anable.
Probably the best found footage monster film to date, Cloverfield works with the familiar, tropes and clichés but crafts an engaging story nonetheless, with a very candid aesthetic to things with the constant use of a camera to document the films events, the performances. Especially right at the start feel natural as the actors try to portray normal adult New Yorkers, caught up in a sudden and dramatic event and on the whole the performances are actually pretty good, although not everyone gets used as well as they could have e.g. Lizzy Caplan as Marlena Diamond, while Mike Vogel and Odette Anable as Jason Hawkins and Beth Mcintyre are quite good. While TJ Miller brings some good humour and comic relief to proceedings.
The plot is most of what makes the film a fun watch though, worked with a clever viral marketing campaign to drum up publicity prior to release and not knowing much of anything while it can feel frustrating also works well in the films favour in this case, not knowing what the giant creature is or anything about it or what will happen next puts you in the shoes of the characters themselves.
And the enigmas in the film work well to keep you engaged as the characters go around in a visceral way with things just happening unexpectedly, although there are some moments you can absolutely see coming and monster film tropes, the plots level of engagement doesn’t quite waiver. Another good thing about the monster is the creature design, the un-named monster itself or ‘Clovey’ for lack of a better name looks very alien and different, not quite like any other notable monster you could name from the top of your head and the film has some nice visuals in certain scenes, emphasizing the power and scope of the monster, decapitating and tossing the Statue of Libertys head across the city sort of gives you an idea. And with the found footage format present, you get put into the shoes of the characters themselves, empathising with their confusion and intrigue over the plots events, not knowing a thing about the monster but going along for the ride as it were in a visceral way as events unfold.
Cloverfield is clever in what it did, combining features of the monster film, found footage sub-genre and disaster movie in a story that clearly takes influence from other things but also feels rather unique in the way it played out, especially with its viral marketing and found footage format with an engaging plot that keeps your interest as things go on and stays tense throughout.
. Engaging plot from start to finish
. Good use of tension in the film
. Some story clichés but none that overwhelm the plot