Cloverfield (2008)
By: Mr Intolerance on October 20, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Paramount (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English (FHI), English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish Subtitles. 81 minutes
The Movie
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman
Screenplay: Drew Goddard
Country: USA
External Links
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Oh, can you smell the hype? I spell it J.J. Abrams…

What a bunch of shit. I've picked my nose with more exciting results. I'm sure lots of sad bastards who were waiting for this flick were waiting for something akin to the TV series Lost to hang their hat on; supposedly clever, witty and cool. Instead, they must have been terribly disappointed with this end product. And what did they get? Another Hollywood creature-feature, but this one done with a sort of Cannibal Holocaust meets The Blair Witch Project kind of found-footage kind of cinema verite vibe. Keeping it to 81 minutes was probably a wise idea, as this was never going to achieve the kind of thrills and spills that either of those kind of films were going to deliver. And that's putting it mildly. Give me Them! or Tarantula any day.

We start off with a contemporary sassy New York couple filming each other, then it pans out to being a whole bunch of New York twenty-somethings doing the filming (oh, the egocentricity), or as the camera-guy puts it "documenting" each other, at a going away party. This rapidly becomes boring, as any gossip-centred minority group will do. If you aren't part of the in-crowd, then being part of the out-crowd leaves you pretty high and dry. Not to mention waiting for the monster in dry-mouthed anticipation, given it's that kind of film…

And even when you feel the impact of the monster, the character's reactions are so formulaic and clichéd as to render the whole exercise null and void. I mean even in Godzilla films people didn't stand about filming carnage as it was happening to them, if they were trying to elicit any kind of audience sympathy. These characters are so vacuous and self-absorbed you want them to die, pretty much from the outset of the film. I was cheering on the monsters from the word "go". I hate these trendy kind of fucks…

Y'know, the question has to be asked – who keeps filming, given this kind of situation? After the initial carnage a bunch of dumb fucks use their mobiles to take pictures of cars the creature has fucked up. Why? Does self-preservation not make up part of these peoples' psyches? Personally, given the evidence, I'd be heading for the hills!

But no, hey, there's a psychotic murderous monster on the loose, so let's all hang around Manhattan… Frankly, I think given the circumstances, I'd be letting everyone else die and buggering off rapidamento. If you're stupid enough, or slow enough to be caught in the zone, you deserve what's coming to you. This is kind of like the Darwin Awards, but on the silver screen.

I guess that the hand-held camera thing is meant to add an aura of verisimilitude to the whole proceeding, but, it just doesn't. If anything, it just becomes plain annoying, to say the least. And apart from anything else, it detracts from the credibility of the characters – like I said before, who hangs around for a slaughter? And even if the person you're heading back into hell for is the best fuck of your life, or the person you feel guilty cheating on – well, those are the kinds of personal demons you deal with well beyond the point of potential suicide…

While I appreciate that the character of Rob is trying to be the hero, all he really achieves is being an annoying egocentric twat. So your life didn't work out how you wanted? Boo-hoo, life's tough, buy a crash-helmet – your pain is laughable to me because you can't act, and your motivation is rubbish. The average human will not pit themselves against an insanely undefeatable enemy, regardless of the prize at the end. And frankly, all his episodes of frustration come off as little better than pathetic teen-angst emo hissy-fits which I laughed at. Hard. And if the hero is willing to sacrifice three lives for one, doesn't that kind of render their integrity null and void?

Oh honestly, these characters are fuckwits, falling prey to every cliché of the horror film – when they actually decided that walking down an unlit subway tunnel was a good idea, I started looking back to the halcyon days of the commonsense era of Jackass. YOU SILLY CUNTS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!! I mean, really…

Frankly, I found there was less tension in this film than your average bowl of spaghetti. Spend your money more wisely and buy shares in the Brooklyn Bridge. Cloverfield is an example of how hype sells a film to the total exclusion of substance. Avoid, avoid, avoid. I've had more entertaining and exhilarating tooth-aches.
The 16:9 enhanced 1.78:1 transfer is more than adequate, considering it's meant to all be filmed on hand-held camera.
The 5.1 track is is loud and filled with big shakes and scares aplenty from all directions, but considering the film is utter shit, what's the point?
Extra Features
Well, there's a commentary by director Matt Reeves, if you really feel like submitting yourself to that, and then the Cloverfield Supplemental Files, if you're interested. This entails you having to watch this benighted piece of trash again with extra footage. Personally, I'd prefer a larger prostate.
The Verdict
Quite frankly, I found this to be a thoroughly unengaging film, with absolutely nothing to recommend it. Awful acting, appalling screenplay, and the kind of direction that makes you applaud Ulli Lommell. Horror for retarded teens at best. J.J.Abrams – I want 81 minutes of my life back!
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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