Cloverfield (2008) **
D: Matt Reeves
C: Mike Vogel, T. J. Miller, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas
P: The found footage of a group of young adults throwing a surprise birthday party, but coming under attack that very night, along with the residents of NYC, by a monster intent on destroying everything and killing everyone.
Cloverfield undoubtedly had one of the most sophisticated marketing campaigns of any horror film in recent memory. Too bad the film pretty much amounts to nothing more then a high tech version of The Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla (1998).
At first, things start out decently. There's an air of dread that hangs over the film as we wait for the film's monster to start making mince meat of New York, but once the monster appears on screen and is unveiled, there's a disappointment because it isn't anything particularly innovative or distinguished. In fact, the monster at the center of Cloverfield is rather ordinary.
There's also a scene involving the protagonists walking through a darkened subway corridor. It's a truly frightening scene, probably one of the most frightening scenes of the decade in fact, but thinking about the scene in hindsight, the characters in Cloverfield are constantly making the stupidest decisions possible. Almost any horror film asks for a suspension of disbelief in regards to character motivation. In Cloverfield, the decisions that the characters make pretty much amount to suicide. Instead of feeling connected and engaged with the characters at hand, there is an anger and animosity as to what they are doing and why they are doing it. With Cloverfield, the characters and their motivations stray so far from remote plausibility that it brings down the film a whole 'nother notch. [PG-13] 85 mins.