CLOVERFIELD


2008

DIRECTOR: Matt Reeves

Cloverfield is a well conceived and executed idea, one which also benefits from not out-staying its welcome, only running for 81 minutes.

It’s certainly a movie which should remain a one-off though, but it probably won’t. It will be copied and retold over an over until the point is lost. Saying thing that though, we must recognise that the ‘found footage’ style has grown out films such as Cannibal Holocaust and The Blair Witch Project. Perhaps it is the “Blair Witch” to the monster movie genre, but certainly miles better, a whole 4 stars better to be precise! The casting of unknowns was an obvious plus and the lack of music is also a great choice and also demonstrates commitment to their chosen format. And going off the end credit’s score, it was certainly a wise choice exclude it.

Well paced, even though we had to wait for what seemed like a whopping 17 minutes for the attack to begin, but once it did, it was a chilling experience, with several stand out moments, not least Lady Liberty’s head rolling down a New York Street and the Crystler Building’s 9/11 inspired collapse. But for me, the sight of one skyscraper leaning against another was priceless and original.

The effects and sound design were brilliant and the concept of never revealing the monster’s purpose, motivation or origin worked well, though I’m sure many would disagree and demand more, but since this was a film which was simply about a giant creature trashing New York, AGAIN! I really didn’t care why it was doing anything. I wasn’t concerned about it’s childhood, growing up in some North Atlantic trench, or whether he, she or it was simply lost and trying to ask for directions.

To summarise: great film, great effects, sound, acting and purpose. And I’m grateful that the ‘wonderfully inspired’ score was absent throughout.

(This is an update of two reviews, originally posted in October 2008)

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