Cloverfield

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A monster is terrorizing New York City and a few people with camcorders record the entire thing.

The movie starts out as a classified video document that the U.S. Army has found and keeping it as evidence of what happened. It begins with a going away party for a guy who is about to start a new job in Japan. There is turmoil with the girl he is leaving behind. A friend of the guy is filming goodbye testimonials from all his friends at the party while also trying to hit on a girl he has a crush on. Between trying to identify and enjoying the party music in the background and the very natural party atmosphere, I completely forgot about the monster coming until it did.

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I don’t know if it was the excellent sound in the theater or just the closeness of the digital camcorder that is used to film the entire movie, but I really felt like I was in the middle of everything. For a portion of time, everyone thinks an earthquake has hit New York before they realize something is terrorizing the city. I loved when the Statue of Liberty’s head comes flying into the middle of a street and almost everyone stands around taking pictures of it with their cell phones before they realize the thing that threw it is not far behind.

The creature is an odd mixture of other creatures. You see glimpses of it throughout the movie and are trying to get a good look at, but I enjoyed the little glimpses of it instead of just seeing it straight on. It made it creepier. I also enjoyed how I really felt off center when a group of people are trying to make their way up one high rise that is still standing upright to jump over to another high rise that has fallen over to lean on the one still standing. Then they have to walk all slanted to make it to the correct apartment. If it wasn’t shot on a camcorder, I don’t think it would have the same effect or give the same feeling that they could slide off the high rise altogether and right into the street below.

I jumped a few times and almost kneed myself because I felt right in the middle of all the action. You never do get to find out what the monster is, where it came from, or why it is there. The way it ends is both very final, but also open ended. I didn’t mind that ending, but I think some people that want the answers for everything were bugged that they didn’t learn anything about the monster. I went to see some crazy monster movie that might scare me and I think it did its job.

Rating: B+

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