Cloverfield, similar to the Blair Witch Project, is presented as 'found footage' that has been shot through the video camera of a teenager in New York City. I have to admit that despite my initial reservations, and the nausea that set in five minutes into the film due to the earthquake-like camera work, I was really impressed.
One of the many things that I gained from watching this film was a fair sized portion of perspective, something many folk could do with in modern day society. Teenagers at a party worrying about their appearance, the red spot on their nose and not getting the sexual gratification they desire one moment. Soon thereafter they are fighting for their lives.
A 'thing' ravages downtown causing a multitude of seismic activity that ripples through buildings up and down New York City - the first sign of something wrong. The party animals flock to the roof to investigate and rather dramtically find the head of the statue of liberty bouncing down the street like an oversized metal green football, rolling to a stop a couple of blocks away.
As panic sets in, crowds on the street grow and an air of desperation can be felt. What follows is footage of a small group of teenagers and their struggle to escape with their lives (and limbs) in tact.
For those of you who prefer to make love instead of war, you will be pleased to hear that there is a romantic edge to the storyline, one of teenage love and risking all against the odds to save that someone special.
The director, Matt Reeves, does an excellent job of developing the characters and their relationships on screen such that as a viewer you can really empathise with the victims. The tension between scenes oscillates dramatically, lulling you into a false sense of security before dropping you back into the witches' cauldron with little warning.
Certain scenes are shot so cleverly that you are on the edge of your seat in anxiety, most notably for me when the group find themselves crossing between collapsed buildings 100 meters up in the New York skyline. Not being great with heights, I had to convince my natural instincts that I wasn't clambering across a death trap with them, and that consequently my heart didn't need to be beating at a rate that is only usually achieved when a Swedish blonde walks past in the close vicinity.
I am looking forward to, whilst putting my feet up with a nice cold beer in front of my flatscreen and with the volume on the surround sound system up to near max, one Saturday evening in the near future, enjoying this film again - It is amazing how much you can pick up when you watch a film more than once.
This is one to be watched, guys, worth the money for your DVD collection, too. As a prerequisite, I recommend sea sickness tablets, however!