Monday, January 21, 2008

Cloverfield (2008)

* *

Although Cloverfield has been marketed and acclaimed for being something different from the typical movie experience, in terms of horror films, its mostly more of the same. Borrowing from (inspired by?) a multitude of previous films such as the Blair Witch Project, Godzilla, Independence Day, and even I Am Legend, Cloverfield comes across as an over-extended, ninety minute Universal Studios ride with all of the requisite wall-shakes, sound effects, and in-your-face visuals. The premise, a disastrous attack on New York City filmed from a hand-held, first person point-of-view, is interesting enough to draw in the horror audience and other movie-goers looking for a scare, but anyone looking for anything more will be disappointed. The cast of unknown actors perform average at best as a group of friends trying to stick together under the bizarre circumstances. Director Matt Reeves makes some gutsy calls in his feature-film debut, but is moving a hand-held camera around in disarray and blasting sound effects and blinking lights art or just a thrill ride? The screenplay, written by Drew Goddard who also writes episodes for the critically acclaimed Lost TV series, has a few bright spots of wit but sucks away the realism the hand-held camera was intended to create. There are some laugh-out-loud lines, which actually give Cloverfield some more depth than most generic horror films, but they appear at entirely inappropriate times. The tone of the film is so inconsistent that it is almost impossible to be emotionally invested in the "drama" of what are supposed to be dire circumstances. The special effects are reminiscent of other CGI-laden disaster flicks, but for those who go to the movies to see the unreal, watching Lady Liberty's head come rolling down a Manhattan street like a bowling ball will be worth the price of admission. Its unfortunate that Paramount owns Cloverfield and not Universal, because it would fit perfectly in the theme park; just add some water sprays, vibrating seats and some 3D goggles to the film as it is now. Most of the audience will need Dramamine just to get through to the credits already.

Good for: horror movie fans, CGI fans, people who liked the Blair Witch Project

Bad for: people who get motion sick

The Gallery
The Surfer: *
The Film Maker: * *

No comments: