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Sunday, November 28, 2010


     Leading up to its release in 2008, CLOVERFIELD had been hyped for months via viral marketing and media coverage.  Sometimes I get weary of mass marketing of a movie- there are times where the finished result just didn't live up to all the hype.  So did CLOVERFIELD live up to all the hype, you ask? Absolutely. It is one of the most enjoyable and original monster movies I've ever seen. By using the same hand-held camera technique as THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, CLOVERFIELD immediately places you directly in the action and terror with no knowledge or warning, which is quite disorienting. Presented as "footage" found after a monster attacks and destroys New York City, a camera is found in what was formerly known as Central Park. Imagine GODZILLA meets the THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, and you get this film. And it's an amazingly visceral experience. As unbelievable as the scenario is, what you're seeing does seem quite realistic It's also completely un-conventional. If you're the annoying type of movie-goer who demands tons of details, a happy, tidy ending, and a hip soundtrack full of popular songs that have nothing whatsoever to do with the movie- then CLOVERFIELD might not be for you. As with the whole "hand-held" thing going in,  people are either going to love it or hate it anyway.

      But to me, it's a brilliant premise and presentation, and there are many prime examples. For one, like THE BIRDS, the film has no score. It has a disquieting and eerie effect. After a misleading and relaxing start, the viewer, along with the characters, are suddenly thrust into a terrifying and unpredicable situation. And not knowing anything about what's going on, we feel as if we're really there with the characters. After the city "earthquake" that starts the frenzied monster attacks on the city, I sat there with a tummy full of butterflies, absolutely glued to the screen. The movie is scary, suspenseful, and thoroughly entertaining. Overall, there is just not a dull moment to be found anywhere in CLOVERFIELD.

     And it's certainly not your typical cookie cutter, Hollywood film. J.J. Abrams (LOST) delivers a monster movie that dares to be different, and it thoroughly succeeds. This movie is meant to be watched more than once, too.  I notice something new everytime I see it. The special effects are some of the most seamless and realistic I've ever seen in a movie, and I like that the monster itself is never shown in its entirety. We get glimpses, quick cuts, and far away shots- and are left to piece together the full monster. I find this movie to be an excellent piece of filmmaking, and a hell of a lot of fun. Monster movies seem to be back with a vengeance, and that's a great thing in my book. CLOVERFIELD, along with THE DESCENT and THE MIST are great examples of the genre.  Monstrously fun!

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