Matt Reeves | 2008 | 85 min | US
The high-concept pitch for Cloverfield is that of a monster movie set in Manhattan shot entirely on a handheld video camera from the perspective of an average New Yorker caught in the middle of the fray. Director Reeves never strays from this formula to jam in extra information regarding the monsters origin or to let us catch up with those characters who stray away from the camera's lens. It is simply a race through the streets, subway tunnels, and towers of Manhattan as the city is ruined around a small group of friends trying to escape the island. It works effectively, and is a very fun ride, allowing for a level of panic and shock that would not be achievable through a standard movie presentation.
The world came to know of Cloverfield through a fantastic teaser that made the rounds in theatres and online last summer. It depicted the initial attack on Manhattan interrupting a going away party. The teaser was a shock and a head scratcher and it left me anxiously awaiting the nameless project's January release. Month's later the feature doesn't promise or offer any more during its length than that initial teaser did, so basically if that teaser held any interest for you, Cloverfield should deliver your money's worth.
More than it reminded me of any of the monster movies of the past, Cloverfield brought to my mind a little film called Miracle Mile. That 1988 Anthony Edward's star vehicle was a nuclear-disaster-panic movie set in downtown Los Angeles over the course of one night. I find the two films are very similar in scope and tone. If you appreciate one I have a strong suspicion you will enjoy the other.
That is all.