Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cloverfield (2008)

I'm not sure this is exactly considered a horror movie (Netflix says Action/Adventure, IMDB says Action/Sci-Fi) but I feel it's fit to review this movie here.

Cloverfield was filmed over 34 days in both New York and Los Angeles. When they were filming here in New York, it was a big to-do, as the other New York disaster movie, I Am Legend, had recently made the Brooklyn Bridge appear to be under attack. The "No Parking" signs on the street read "Cheese" and many New Yorkers were confused as to what was being filmed.

In fact, Cloverfield was filmed, produced, and shipped under several code names including "Cheese," "Slusho," "Clover," "Bertha," and surprisingly, "Cloverfield" which ended up being the actual title of the movie. Cloverfied is actually the name of the boulevard in Santa Monica where the Bad Robot offices are located.

I cannot remember a single horror/sci-fi movie generating this much speculation, confusion and interest since The Blair Witch Project. The producers did such a great job of building up so much mystery around the film that people just could not wait to see it.

Cloverfield centers around a group of twenty-somethings attending a party in Manhattan when it comes under attack. The entire movie is filmed from the prospective of a handheld camera, which results in some very bumpy footage. (There were warning signs outside the theaters akin to those for roller coasters)

A small group of friends scrambles to escape whatever is attacking (running past a downed Statue of Liberty head on the way) They attempt to run over the Brooklyn Bridge, which of course, is immediately destroyed. They run around like everyone else, trying to figure out what's going on, and end up down in the subway. This part of the movie totally freaks me out. Ugh, even when the train slows down/stops in the tunnels, I start to feel claustrophic...the thought of running through the tunnels makes me have a mild panic attack. Also, the calculations on this part were a little off...they run through the tunnels from Spring Street to 59th and Lex in a short period of time, when any New Yorker knows that trip takes a solid 20 minutes on the subway.

Anyway, I digress. They arrive at Bloomingdales to encounter a military presence rounding up what appears to be cases of zombieism. Then, in a ridiculous move of stupidity/heroism, they decide to forego the military-offered transport and swing on over to Columbus Circle to try and find their friend. Once again, only takes them about two minutes to get there (in reality it's about a 20 minute walk) and no one in their 20s could afford an apartment in that building as they go for several thousand dollars a month.

This movie ends about how you'd expect for a "monster-destroys-New York" movie. This was a pretty solid end-of-the-world movie. It was pretty much like the Blair Witch Project, if you picked up that little group and their camera equipment and dropped them off in SoHo.

Grade: C (Blair Witch Project...after the kids were on Oprah and we all found out it wasn't real)