here are two kinds of people in the world. the first are the one’s who have seen the first teaser trailer for the then unnamed movie in front of ‘transformers’ last july, and have been totally hooked up in the whole viral marketing campaign ever since. the rest are the people who will walk into this movie with absolutely no idea what its about, and are probably still wondering what kind of advertiser makes a poster without putting the name of the film on it. and as fun as the following the ins and outs of the marketing campaign for ‘cloverfield’ has been, it’ll be almost impossible not to feel a pang of jealousy towards those who are coming into this movie blind. for that is the best way to view this movie; knowing next to nothing. so its probably better that you don’t read the rest of this review…… still here? okay then. produced jj abrahms (‘lost’, ‘m:i-3’) had a killer idea for re-booting the monster movie genre, and gave to his friend buddys drew goddard (‘lost’, ‘buffy’) to write and matt reeves (who’s last film was 1996’s ‘the pallbearer’!) and direct. kicking off from the going away party seen in the first teaser trailer, the audience are kept in the first-person viewpoint of a handheld camera, a la the blair witch project. ten minutes in, manhattan is vibrating, and then exploding, and the news reports are claiming earthquakes, while the party-goers are blaiming terrorists. then the army comes in, starting a mass-exodus of the new york island….. of course, everyone knows its a monster. and the initial attacks of the monster are quite terrifying, based entirely in the randomness of the creature and the panic of the people on ground level. the plot is hardly worth mentioning (its basically just a set up to keep the main actors in the same location as the monster), and while the actors all do their best with their respective roles, its all secondary. all that really matters is the director’s surprising mastery of the action scenes. from a collapsing bridge, to the army’s first retaliation, to the white knuckled run through a blacked-out subway tunnel, every scene is laced with fear. a cliched statement it may be, but this truly is godzilla for the 9/11 generation. never throwing a knowing glance at sub-realism, there is no suspension of disbelief here, as everyone involved shoots from the hip, almost as if they’re making the united 93 version of a monster movie. and its this unsettling realism that marks this film out as one of the more intelligently entertaining movies of the decade so far.
eight point five out of ten