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Cloverfield

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: PG-13 — for violence, terror and disturbing images
  • Director: Matt Reeves   Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T. J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel
  • Running Time: 84 minutes
  • Reader Rating:

    8 out of 10

      |  

    4 Reviews | Write a Review

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Genre

Action/Adventure, SciFi/Fantasy, Suspense/Thriller

Producer

J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk

Distributor

Paramount

Release Date

Jan 18, 2008

Release Notes

Nationwide

Official Website

Review

Most of us like to get our money’s worth and actually see the monster flattening buildings, but against the odds, Cloverfield is a kick.

The film, helmed by Felicity director Matt Reeves (talk about going outside the genre), centers on a bunch of attractive twentysomethings at a going-away party in a Tribeca loft. The gathering’s for Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who’s taking a job in Japan and leaving behind Beth (Odette Yustman), the old friend he can’t bring himself to tell he adores. To document the festivities, Rob’s brother Jason (Mike Vogel) and Jason’s girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas), thrust a digital-video camera into the hands of Hud (T.J. Miller), a likable loser with a crush on Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), a dark-eyed cutie who couldn’t find him less compelling.

We see the beast for only brief instants via the swerving, un-Hollywood-like camera, which means our imagination fills in the rest—great. The thing appears to be just as disoriented as the people running from it, only a lot more pissed off. To make matters worse, it didn’t come alone. It shakes off spiderlike parasites that rip people up and infect the survivors with something deeply icky. You almost forget that Hud picking up his camera after a bloody attack on the group is more improbable than a giant monster stomping Manhattan.

The kid in you might crave a more objective view of the creature — not to mention the catharsis that comes from watching science and the military collaborate to bring the monster down, etc. That said, we’ve sat through that kind of movie again and again, but we’ve never sat through anything with Cloverfield’s subjective sting. You’d have to be tougher than I was not to be blown sideways by it.

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