Cloverfield – Lives Up to the Buzz

Cloverfield     B+

Starring Michael Stahl-David, Jessica Lucas, and T.J. Miller
Rated PG-13 for violence, terror disturbing images
Appropriate for ages 15+

The Story: The movie audience gets to watch the playback from a videotape found in Central Park after New York City is destroyed.  The tape follows a group of friends as they try to survive an attack from a horrible and unstoppable monster that wreaks havoc on the city.

The Good: A few months back theaters saw the trailer for a film that looked like The Blair Witch Project on crack.  I don’t even remember the film that came after, but for weeks this little untitled pic was all we film-nerds could chat about.  It didn’t have a title and many people actually thought that the name of the flick was 1-18-08 since that was the only thing listed on the trailer and following poster.  This super-hype was too much for any film to live up to.  But this one does.  This is a scary, realistic-as-you-can-get movie that effectively uses a handheld camera and makes you feel like you are with the friends every step of the way.  There were many moments when my heart was racing and my stomach was turning.  I’ll admit, the jerky and diagonal motion of the camera could have been partly to blame, but there is some really frightening stuff here that should cause this low-budget thriller to make loads of dough.

The Bad: In order to get the kind of story that delivers the right result, the characters have to do many, many stupid things.  While rescuing the one you love isn’t crazy – risking your life and the lives of your friends to get there in an impossible situation involving a humongous monster is.  That being said, I think they could have given us another story line that would have delivered the same effects without the audience constantly saying “yeah right…” 

Also, if you thought the Bourne flicks had some nauseating moments, pop those Dramamines during the trailers.  The motion sickness might add to the enjoyment, but puking during the movie could cause a chain reaction that you don’t want to see outside of Stand By Me

The Summary: This great little monster movie truly lives up to the buzz surrounding it.