Flick Reviews: ‘Cloverfield’ (2008)

As a refresher for 10 Cloverfield Lane which I’m about to see tomorrow, I re-watched the found-footage sensation that is Cloverfield.

Cloverfield is directed by Matt Reeves details a group of friends venturing deep into the streets of New York on a rescue mission during a rampaging monster attack.

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Cloverfield takes a bold, new and exciting turn for monster movies by taking on the found-footage genre, something that was refreshing at its time of release. Everything held up very well as it still managed to contain the same amounts of tension and suspense that was present upon the pinnacle of its success at the theaters back in ’08. However, despite being a monster movie it pays more attention to the characters than the destruction and the gigantic monster itself. That doesn’t take away anything from the terror whatsoever as it creates a certain depth to all the tension all throughout. The moments spent with these characters are always never dulled-down, as we are given a little more of their background as they experience all the horror firsthand. The film’s story that details one supposedly fun night turned into a total disaster is one of the best things that made Cloverfield quite imaginative  in terms of being a sci-fi thriller and a monster movie. The latter part’s presence is felt all throughout, but with the amount of realism added into it, the opportunity for the former to become such allows it to be more prominent. Its depiction of panic and peril is so thrilling on a certain degree that it becomes all too real for our eyes to perceive. Cloverfield tends to fool us into thinking that it is authentic and much to its liking, it wins at doing so.

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. Drew Goddard’s writing almost emphasizes on the film as a chilling yet imaginative depiction of the terrible 9-11 attack posing as a product of the monster genre. Therefore, that certain idea allows Cloverfield’s portrayal of havoc and panicking to be really believable and all the more scary. Then again, the mystery surrounding the devastation defines what the film really is; a cinematic metaphor for an unforgettably tragic event in real-life that we can’t take off our minds any time soon. The showing of the monster doesn’t do anything much, but it does increase the satisfaction in the enjoyment of what we are witnessing. Most specially as it reaches the climax packed with ferocity and quite disturbing imagery. However, tends to drizzle itself with a little subtle humor amidst all the chaos with its fascinating character going by the name of Hud, played by T.J. Miller. Miller’s character could sort of be seen as a vigorous accompaniment to all the tragedy, yet the other people by his side also managed to be such. The horrific dread that could be seen in his camera all throughout the film gives us seconds and minutes to realize how traumatic the catastrophe has been, most specially considering that he is the one documenting all of it. In our perspective, it looks very scary but realizing how much fear got into Hud as he captured all of it is quite unimaginably scarier. Character moments were also able to become entertaining with their banter mixed with humor and hysteria. The merging of these two aspects in their dialogues certainly adds a layer of emotional distress and a sense of danger and worry. They make us care for them as the mayhem gets intensified just as the story progresses.

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With all of the catastrophic disturbance going all out, their quest to survive managed to leave a little impact knowing that we “know” who these people are. But Performance wise, the actors didn’t turn out to be great, yet they still did a pretty good job knowing how the movie plays out.  The found-footage format cinematography makes everything occurring onscreen totally credible. Without it, the film would basically be nothing. It would never attain the levels of intensity that it reached. Mainly because the seconds of commotion and scenes of alarming danger were captured really well with the style that the film goes for. The frightening sequences work effectively with several of them standing out to totally maintain its essence. Yet, to talk about it’s being as a total monster-movie makes it quite distinctive from the others. Cloverfield’s idea is fresh, and the style applied to it contributes a lot for it to become unique, genuinely jolting, and ultimately fun all around.

Rating:

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* Its so-called “blood-relative” 10 Cloverfield Lane is now playing in Philippine cinemas from United International Pictures Philippines.

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