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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.82%
Worth A Look35.88%
Just Average: 9.16%
Pretty Crappy: 7.63%
Sucks: 14.5%

9 reviews, 77 user ratings

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by Dawn Taylor

"You've surfed the marketing websites ... now see the movie!"
4 stars

No matter what you think about his actual body of work, producer/writer/director J.J. Abrams (he of “Alias,” “Lost” and “Mission: Impossible III”) knows how to draw attention to a project.

Just as Lost gets plenty of off-season marketing mojo from online alternate reality games and podcasts, the Abrams-produced feature film Cloverfield has been hyped for the past six months via an intensive viral marketing campaign involving “leaked” footage and conceptual art, as well as tie-in websites that offer intriguing clues as to the plot of the movie. Abrams knows that his target demographic is ‘net savvy and game crazy, and the ad men who handled the pre-release campaign for Cloverfield have liberally sprinkled the Webverse with plenty of shiny Easter eggs to pique their interest.

Ultimately, however, it comes down to the question of whether Cloverfield is actually any good. And it is – maybe not good enough to deserve the massive amount of manufactured interest generated prior to release, but it’s still pretty darn nifty.

The movie’s main conceit is a more sophisticated take on the gag that drove The Blair Witch Project with one of the film’s characters, Hud (T.J. Miller) shooting all of the events with a camcorder after cataclysmic events disrupt a going-away party for his pal Rob (Michael Stahl-David). In a way, the gimmick is the only thing that sets Cloverfield apart from other giant-monster horror flicks, but it’s clever enough that it works very, very well – it creates intimacy and immediacy, delivering a visceral “you are there” feeling that grabs the viewer in a way that a more conventional, dispassionate style of filming wouldn’t achieve.

That’s important, because Cloverfield really isn’t about the mystery behemoth that rampages through Manhattan, it’s about the people on the ground who are desperately trying not to become monster chow. Director Matt Reeves’ background includes writing and directing Abrams’ soapy TV drama “Felicity,” and that experience colors much of Cloverfield – the first 20 minutes of the film (which runs less than 80 minutes total) are devoted to the personalities of the very photogenic, financially gifted characters as they flirt, bicker and gossip at Rob’s party, so that when all hell breaks loose it’s as if Felicity and her pals were suddenly dropped into the middle of a Godzilla flick. It’s weird, but engagingly so.

It’s not without its flaws, though. Some of those photogenic characters are so similar in appearance and personality that even after 20 minutes of party chatter it’s hard to tell them apart. And while the first-person narrative makes for an exciting thrill ride, decades of monster-movie history have instilled in the audience a desire to know just what, exactly, this thing is that everyone’s running away from – there are lots of hints on the related Internet sites, but the movie itself offers nothing at all to explain its origins.

The CG creatures, explosions and other effects are seamless, however (although it’s worth noting that the shaky, handheld camera has been reported to make more than a few viewers queasy.) From a cinematic and a marketing standpoint, ""Cloverfield’s"] a successful exercise – but, really, it’s little more than that. It’s a lot of fun, but Godzilla’s crown as King of the Monsters is still safe.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16837&reviewer=413
originally posted: 01/18/08 13:51:23
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell a good creature feature 4 stars
2/08/17 Louise As soon as that stupid monster showed up, I knew it was a turkey. 1 stars
9/24/13 David Hollingsworth One of the more awesome/scary found footage films since 'Blair Witch". 5 stars
4/14/13 Durwood Cheezy Grade Z ripoff of Blair Witch and War of the Worlds--DON 1 stars
3/15/10 mr.mike If you can deal with shaky cam , it's good. Damn good. 4 stars
9/19/09 Eggy Swingleforte Oh dear! Get out the vomit bags... [plural] Sheer shite from the highest height. 1 stars
8/18/09 Jeff Wilder Great style. Not one iota of substance. 3 stars
6/03/09 carmen torres i really thought it was a piece of junk i got dizzy with the camara moving all the time 1 stars
3/24/09 Eric Pretty good, though I was bummed when delicious Mike Vogel bites it 20 minutes in. 4 stars
1/08/09 Anonymous. such a cool movie, the ending sort of surprised me... 4 stars
12/18/08 Craig D. Best American monster movie since Jaws. 5 stars
11/08/08 daveyt It's ok, I liked the new take on monster, but Blair Witch was much better, yup I liked BW! 3 stars
10/07/08 Matt Hard to empathise with the characters when the picture jumps all over the place. 3 stars
9/18/08 Max A potent and visceral masterpiece 5 stars
9/11/08 Luke Good idea, terribly executed with little effort in the detail 1 stars
8/11/08 Jon G A unrealistic plot that felt disturbingly real 5 stars
7/27/08 Samantha Pruitt delivered, thought it was a lot of fun, great audience participation! 4 stars
7/11/08 AnnieG Not all that scary and it made my family motion-sick. 3 stars
6/26/08 Doug SHort and sweet 4 stars
6/23/08 Andrew Elkhoury Liked the fact that it was taped by a handy cam and still had great fx. 5 stars
6/16/08 Blop Hell I enjoyed this immensly, despite or because of low expectations 4 stars
6/15/08 CD This was entertaining at times but the camera was annoying and Hud more so. 2 stars
6/14/08 Sam Difficult to watch with the camera moving .. brainless.. 1 stars
6/05/08 Jessay I hated the characters, epic fail 1 stars
5/25/08 David Pollastrini Great FX! 5 stars
5/13/08 Joe Awsome movie, But the ending was very unsatisfactory. 4 stars
5/08/08 Misti K Good and scary... loved it! 4 stars
4/27/08 Jayme Isaacs An Excellent Movie 5 stars
4/23/08 action movie fan scares and thrils galore in the exviting godzilla meets blair witch sci fi adventure 4 stars
4/22/08 Jodi I thought this film was ok, but I wanted to throw up most of the movie from shaky camera 3 stars
4/04/08 Jessica Bielzebub Makes THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT look like a best cinematography winner. 2 stars
3/27/08 Piz A great jump since Blair Witch, and awesome for such a low budget. Was bummed when it ended 4 stars
3/24/08 wnm Cool idea, poorly executed. Subplot stuff came off extremely boting, footage unrealistic 3 stars
3/06/08 wertyboy movie masterpiece, suspense horrow violence and even some humour in their, its a MUST see 5 stars
2/16/08 Zoolook the Awesome Mudkip Meh...nothing spectacular, and the monster looked like a giant Swampert. google and compare 2 stars
2/12/08 elisa perkins The shaky camera work was what made this movie crazy scary. 5 stars
2/04/08 M .Alan Aviseral Masterpeice 5 stars
2/04/08 Paul Shortt Besides disinterest, the only emotion it incites is the emotion of wanting to throw up 1 stars
2/04/08 MP Bartley Nothing new as such, but it uses its concept brilliantly. 4 stars
2/03/08 Advantus Good film. Leaves you wanting more. Where is the prequel? 4 stars
2/02/08 Nick really loved it, the best godzilla-monster movie ever! 5 stars
2/01/08 Alex Thorne This film was everything i wanted it to be. finally, something worth all the hype! 5 stars
2/01/08 Quigley An amazingly effective sci-fi adventure. Stays with you for days afterwards 5 stars
1/30/08 john wonderful ... fine ... a blast ... yippeee ... clever 5 stars
1/29/08 Ming I hate the shaky camera...a bad movie..Why you people like this garbage..... 2 stars
1/29/08 gcc Very innovative filmmaking, felt very real & scary unlike typical CGI monster flicks 4 stars
1/27/08 Jeff Smith Awesome, completely gripping if you can stomach the hand-held camera 5 stars
1/26/08 Bill Kept me entertained. It didn't take itself too seriously either. 4 stars
1/26/08 Tan Worst movie ever. All hype. Save your money and time. 1 stars
1/24/08 Emme Ready for the fun "thrill ride"- got boring, unscarey crap 1 stars
1/24/08 Ramzi Abed It truly is Godzilla meets Blair Witch (with better cameras!) 5 stars
1/23/08 John GREAT experience, way more then just a movie 5 stars
1/22/08 danielle really bad! camera shaking for hr and 1/2 1 stars
1/22/08 Stacy Loved it. Don't go see if you need a Hollywood ending, though. 5 stars
1/22/08 Riki Not exactly scarey, not exactly realistic, but definitely entertaining! 5 stars
1/22/08 beau This was very scary! it had frightening sequences, action and was believable! well made! 4 stars
1/22/08 William Goss And I presume that spelling is where "Likes to read" fails. 5 stars
1/21/08 Likes to read, unlike the President. Great for identifying people with no taste. Guess where Willaim Goss falls. 1 stars
1/21/08 John Wasn’t invested in the characters and didn’t believe it for one second… 1 stars
1/21/08 Mr Freeze I watched it online. It was a camcorder recording of a camcorder recording. B+ 4 stars
1/21/08 Ole Man Bourbon Great entertainment. Characters were abominable though. 4 stars
1/21/08 Noexit Should have been longer. There was something crashed in the water at Coney Island 4 stars
1/21/08 Ron20003 WORST PIECE OF CRAPOLA EVER 1 stars
1/20/08 chach Very unrealistic and cheezy no plot or direction! Probably the worst movie Ive ever seen 1 stars
1/20/08 Brian Mckay Yes, it's a gimmick, but it's a fun one. Monster 10 times scarier than any Godzilla flick. 4 stars
1/20/08 Captain Highcrime 9/11 with a monster...New Yorkers will LOVE it!! 4 stars
1/20/08 c5 Cliched spectacle distracts from serious stupidity and lack of real story. Pure gimmick. 1 stars
1/19/08 tmcmistress very original monster design; just wish we'd seen more of it. 4 stars
1/19/08 Darkstar Awesome movie, great monster. Best action pic you're gonna get this time of year. 5 stars
1/19/08 Obi Wan One of the better movies to come about, plenty of scares and JJ does it again!! 5 stars
1/19/08 Michael Best horror/suspense movie I've seen in years! 4 stars
1/19/08 chris banuchi Guys. At the end of the movie, I swear I seen something crashland into the water at coney 5 stars
1/19/08 MN Completely overrated. 1 stars
1/18/08 bullit16 Worth the hype! If you can stand the shaky cameras, it's one hell of a thrill ride 5 stars
1/18/08 Roy Romano This movie Sucked more than a blow job festival! It gave me hava a headache. 1 stars
1/18/08 Paul Kraker Worst movie I've ever seen - save your money!!!! 1 stars
1/18/08 Brant Best Scare I've had in a theater in a loooong time! Great Movie!! 5 stars
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  18-Jan-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Apr-2008



Directed by
  Matt Reeves

Written by
  Drew Goddard

  Michael Stahl-David
  Odette Yustman
  Mike Vogel
  Lizzy Kaplan

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