Feature

Cloverfield

A 20-something documents a monster’s reign over Manhattan with his video camera.

Cloverfield
Directed by Matt Reeves (PG-13)

A 20-something documents a monster’s reign over Manhattan with his video camera.

★★

Cloverfield is the “most intense and original creature feature I’ve seen,” said Marc Savlov in the Austin Chronicle. Producer J.J. Abrams, who won over television viewers with Lost and Alias, has paired up with his Felicity buddy Matt Reeves for this big-screen horror flick. Cloverfield is a monster-takes-Manhattan story told from the victim’s point of view, offering only glimpses of the amphibious beast and letting viewers’ imaginations fill in the rest. The audience takes in the “catastrophic, literally earthshaking events through the lens of one character’s digital video camera.” This unique style of shooting makes Cloverfield a “monster movie in the grand tradition.” There’s nothing lofty about this film except the pride it takes in its gimmickry, said Dana Stevens in Slate.com. Cloverfield is basically a “line-’em-up, pick-’em-off horror movie that’s effective without being either viscerally frightening or emotionally moving.” What Abrams ended up creating was a cross between Godzilla and The Blair Witch Project that plays out like a videogame version of 9/11. “There’s no way you can watch downtown panic and crumbling towers without it seeming a bit … familiar,” said Richard Corliss in Time. Abrams claims he wasn’t out to exploit the 2001 attacks, and I believe him. But New York “is as irresistible to filmmakers as it is to terrorists.” Cloverfield’s problem isn’t luridness but lack of creativity: We’ve seen movie monsters destroy these same buildings countless times before.
 

Recommended

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean
A suspected Chinese spy balloon over Montana.
99 Red Balloons?

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean

10 things you need to know today: February 4, 2023
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 4, 2023

A surge in violence in Pakistan
The rubble of a Peshawar mosque damaged in a suicide bombing.
Feature

A surge in violence in Pakistan

The Adani Group scandal, explained
Gautam Adani.
Briefing

The Adani Group scandal, explained

Most Popular

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn)
Punitive politics?

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend
Photo of Kura Sushi, a Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain
save the sushi

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'
5 cows lined up at feeding trough.
carbon copy

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'