FILM REVIEW CLOVERFIELD 2008
One of the best-found footage movies dealing with a group of frightened desperate teenagers during a monster’s rampage through central New York.
The title comes from the US designation of secrecy applied to the monster’s attack and presumed eventual destruction, after which the film footage is found on a cam-corder in Central Park (now renamed).
The footage begins in a rather dull fashion, as the characters have flirtations and affairs with one another at a farewell party for Rob, who is soon to move to Japan. The camera changes hands as various guests’ film one another at the lavish and lively party.
Guests in the background indicate trouble in the streets outside the apartment but the camera operators ignore it until an earth tremor temporarily takes out the lights in the apartment. The panic is captured well, and as the power comes on, they see news reports on TV of a major oil tanker disaster on the River Hudson. Their speculation on what has happened is interrupted by a series of explosions and everyone rushes to leave the apartment and tower block.
They find the streets in chaos, and people running blindly in all directions. They catch glimpses of some kind of gigantic reptilian creature, throwing cars and smashing into buildings. Suddenly, in one of the film’s most iconic moments, the head of the statue of liberty lands and bounces into the street close to where the camera is running. It has been smashed off and launched by the rampaging monster.
A handful of the party-goers try to stay together as they join the panic stricken evacuation from the city, with the army arriving to rush everyone out and indicating that even they can’t stop the unspecified beast’s attacks.
We never discover what the monster is or where it came from. We see smaller monsters break off from the parent / host body to scuttle like spiders in tunnels and attack soldiers and the teenagers among others too. Rob gets messages on his cell phone from a distressed and trapped girlfriend, Beth, and decides to break away from the evacuation exodus to go and help her. The other teens reluctantly go with him. The story shows them slowly dwindling in numbers as the creature(s) attack, and they struggle to reach the last helicopter flight out of New York.
A thrilling movie capturing the chaos of the events from the point of view of the background evacuees, struggling to comprehend inexplicable disaster when the authorities re too overwhelmed by what is happening to be able to give them any information. The characters go too dishevelled, exhausted and desperate very quickly from their beautiful people party happiness at the beginning of the film.
The monster effects work well, with a creature that seems inspired by The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and which is often only seen in background glimpses, making it al the more terrifying.
A stunning premise which is very well executed. The Statue Of Liberty’s use may be its best cameo since the original Planet of the Apes movie. The cast of relatively unknown actors makes this work very well.