January 18th, 2008
The anticipation was high for CLOVERFIELD after months of speculation and numerous trailers in the blitzkrieg campaign teasing us with tiny bits of what could be the monster ravaging the city, if it be a monster at all. We threw a party for the film this past Saturday at FACTORY and gave away loads of passes to the advance screening this past Tuesday. The line started early with eager people waiting for the mystery to finally be revealed. I saw dozens of people from the club amongst the rest of the geeks and nerds like me giddy for a good monster film. I can say the theater was filled with geeks and nerds without pause because when we were unexpectedly treated to the J. J . Abrams vision of STAR TREK teaser trailer the theater erupted in applause.
Having been deeply disappointed by a number of highly anticipated films that promised to be larger than life, I was pleased that CLOVERFIELD was much more entertaining than I had even anticipated. Here is the premise, the entire movie is actually footage from the devastation recovered by the government from a personal camcorder left in the wake of a horrific attack by a 30 story creature of unknown origin obliterating New York City. It starts with a going away party where the guest of honors best friend is asked to record testimonials for him. In the middle of the party the whole city shakes and the nearly nonstop chaos, running and screaming begins. Despite the advertising, the monster(s) in CLOVERFIELD are almost peripheral to the main story which is of a young man defying all odds in the midst of the greatest possible calamity braving all adversity to rescue his one true love, despite the fact that he has no idea if she is even alive or dead. The monster is just another obstacle for him and his friends to evade to find their way to safety, though it seems the creature was practically following them around the city the whole time. You get to see the creature peripherally in most instances, obscured by buildings in a lot of them. But toward the end you are treated to some great clear views and one really great close up of the alien looking beast. What is it? Where did it come from? Well, we never find out because after all this is just someone's home video found in the rubble of the wasteland once known as New York. But that lends to the fun of this film, speculating about what all was happening to these poor souls whose experience we were living through voyeuristically and why.
This Blair-witch-ish POV style of film making certainly gave the film an added sense of legitimacy unlike any other film I've seen (including The Blair Witch). The camera is jostled in every direction just as it would be by an amateur videographer in the same situation. But the downside of this is a film where every scene is hardly ever stabilized even at the films most benign moments the only break from the jittering motion is when the camera itself is either set down or dropped. This near ceaseless movement caused some slight motion sickness in a few movie goes we know of for sure, including me. I and few others around me had to shut our eyes more than a few times just to regain our equilibrium.
So I do highly suggest you go see this exciting new film, just whatever you do, don't forget your Dramamine!
- Max Michaels