Feature

Cloverfield

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

CloverfieldDirected 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

CIA reportedly warned military about civilian presence just seconds before missile hit in Kabul
Site of U.S. missile strike in Kabul.
afghanistan

CIA reportedly warned military about civilian presence just seconds before missile hit in Kabul

France's anger at U.S., U.K., Australia over defense deal may not die down quickly
Emmanuel Macron.
this isn't over

France's anger at U.S., U.K., Australia over defense deal may not die down quickly

'No reason' for optimism that Taliban's ban on girls' education will end, human rights analyst warns
Girls' classroom in Afghanistan.
backtracking

'No reason' for optimism that Taliban's ban on girls' education will end, human rights analyst warns

France recalls ambassador to the U.S. 'for the first time ever'
Emmanuel Macron.
heating up

France recalls ambassador to the U.S. 'for the first time ever'

Most Popular

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?
Elizabeth Holmes and James Mattis.
Samuel Goldman

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers star Jane Powell dies at 92
Jane Powell.
rest in peace

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers star Jane Powell dies at 92

6 lions, 3 tigers at the National Zoo are being treated for COVID-19
Sumatran tiger.
zoonotic

6 lions, 3 tigers at the National Zoo are being treated for COVID-19