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1st Cloverfield Review: It Will Make You Sick — But It Will Be Worth It!

cloverfield review
My wife had to stop watching multiple times. The first girl we spoke to after the movie felt queasy. Someone was throwing up in the bathroom afterward. What movie could have this effect, and yet people exited with stunned smiles on their faces? The movie without a name…Tagruato’s Revenge…Slusho Brain Freeze Makes Monster Eat New York…1-18-08…Cloverfield.

I was lucky enough to catch the first public screening of Cloverfield tonight — joined by my wife, my bro, my nephews (see KidReviewer’s Cloverfield review) and the Atom Splitter (see Steve’s review). I can’t say why the first screening of the most anticipated movie of 2008 was in my town of Gainesville, FL. I can’t say why it was 5 days before any of the other early screenings planned across the country. All I can say is “thanks Jason” for the tip, “thanks Paramount” for loving Taserland and “thanks JJ” for a freaking-fantastic, first-person, fright-filled monster flick.

Out of respect for those who haven’t seen it, I won’t share full storyline here. However, I will share some key thoughts and observations. If you don’t want any hint of spoiling — STOP READING NOW.

cloverfield review

– The Cloverfield ARG building up to the movie: it’s just about the only way you have any backstory on the monster.
– Immediate monster footsteps: even before Paramount and Bad Robot logos show up.
– Hard to describe, horrific monster: I will share that some movements reminded me of bat walking, face reminded me of Predator, pulsating ears/head reminded me of Beowulf Grendel and leave further Cloverfield monster depictions to KidReviewer.
– First-person camera: makes the entire movie feel action-packed and really amps up the monster scenes (imagine Half-Life Snarks 10X bigger wickeder coming at you and your vidcam)
– Overwritten vid footage as construct for some personal backstory.
– Decent character development so I cared when bad things happened to good people — and they did, repeatedly.
– “Hud the Stud”: OK, so he’s no stud, but he carried the cam, had the best lines and was my favorite character.
– Nightvision on the vidcam: ‘nuf said.
– No cop-out on the ending.

cloverfield review

– Time frame of vid clips: didn’t match ARG buildup, probably because spring shooting complicated January timeline (and I’m guessing the extent/success of ARG was not contemplated during shooting). Still seems like there should have been away to stay consistent in ARG and movie.
– Too short: only 75 minutes by my count. Although thoroughly enjoyable, there was plenty of opportunity for building more suspense or meatier scenes (e.g. military detention remarkably short and frazzled)
– People are going to be sick: Although I came out fine, this movie should come with a warning to take your Dramamine/Bonine first. In fact, I predict viral marketing will benefit from “this movie makes people sick” reality.

cloverfield review

Summary: If you like action films, genre-breakers, Gen-Y, scary movies, or monster flicks, you will like Cloverfield. Go, take some friends and find out why Rob is, like, my main dude!

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