Cloverfield (2008)

cloverfield poster 2008 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Like the creature

Not enough creature, boring people

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Cloverfield

Studio:  Bad Robot Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  January 18, 2008

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

cloverfield coney island ending michael stahl david odetta yustman

I bet days like this go on forever!!!

Robert Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) is leaving the United States for a job in Japan and his friends have thrown him a party.  When a monster begins to attack New York City with no explanation, Robert, his brother’s girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas), a girl named Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), and Hud Platt (T.J. Miller) find themselves trying to escape the city as the military moves in on the creature.  Robert learns that his estranged girlfriend Beth (Odetta Yustman) has become trapped in her apartment and Robert, Marlena, and Hud head out to help her with Hud filming all the events.

cloverfield little monsters

I wish we got a better look at these critters

Directed by Matt Reeves and produced by J.J. Abrams, Clovefield is a found-footage horror science-fiction film.  The movie used a viral marketing approach and did well at the box-office.  The film was released to relatively positive reviews and has developed a small cult following.

I am not a big fan of found-footage films, but I am a fan of monster films.  There was tons of speculation about this movie when it was going to be released and some even believed it was really going to be a Godzilla film (and even some Voltron speculation due to ties with The Transformers).  I find that Cloverfield is more of a found footage film than a monster film and suffers the same problems.

cloverfield bombing attack monster

Guys, it isn’t fair to call me a monster…you don’t know me

The big problem with found-footage films is that they are locked into a few different storylines to “keep the camera rolling”.  In this movie it is supposed to be an interrupted party and the shooter (Hud) keeps rolling to document events…and it is a boring party until the monster hits about twenty minutes in.  Is a rather weak belief that he would risk himself multiple times to keep shooting and this leads to the second problem of found footage films is that they can’t really end a lot of ways.  The film states at the beginning that the tape is military evidence so that doesn’t lend itself to a good ending for the characters.

The movie builds mystery around the creature with the idea that you aren’t going to ever really know.  It is supposed to be a kaiju type creature (Abrams wanted to make an American Godzilla) and it is implied by a final shot flashback that it fell from the sky.  It is a rather cool creature, but due to the shaky camera and the story format you don’t get very good looks at it…and the creatures that cause infection from bites also don’t get their rightful screentime.

cloverfield kaiju monster ending

I see you

A personal issue I have with almost all these found footage films is that since they are trying to make them “natural”, they find new actors and actresses for the role.  Inevitably one or more isn’t a very good actress and for some reason, it always feels like at least one of the main characters is quite annoying.  Here you get cameraman Hud…who deserves whatever he gets because he’s pretty obnoxious.

Cloverfield isn’t a favorite of mine, but it does have a few moments due to my love of big monster movies.  Immediately after the release of Cloverfield (which also seemed to bank a bit on 9-11 fears), there were talks of sequels.  I’m not saying that a sequel is a good idea, but it might be nice to see the creature again…also found-footage sequels are often worse than the original film because the novelty has worn off.  A quasi-sequel to Cloverfield (more of a spiritual sequel as described by many) called 10 Cloverfield Lane was released in 2016.

Related Links:

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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