March 17, 2008

Something Has Found Us

Posted in Action, Horror, Monster, Movies, Sci-Fi at 5:22 pm by inflickted

cloverfieldViral Marketing – as I’ve learned through my Business Management course – any form of advertising that is so compelling that you can’t help yourself but tell other people about it. It is a marketing phenomenon more commonly known as word-of-mouth. This variety of promotion has been used in advertising movies which can lead to an overwhelming hype for the film. It can create great curiosity and demand for the movie but can also leave it to be a disappointing mess (remember Snakes On A Plane? What suckfest that turned out to be!)

“Cloverfield” is a motion picture that employed the same strategy. A trailer that had no title for the movie and had little information and the rolling head of the Statue of Liberty, it created a massive buzz. But, did the film live up to its hype? Or come crashing down like other movies that have done the same marketing decisions?

As the title has been revealed by watching the movie, “Cloverfield” is a government code name for the site of the destruction to be witnessed. So, what we are actually watching is the remains of a video tape retrieved from the site. It is generally a monster movie, but technically isn’t. Director Matt Reeves has created an abnormality, a visceral monster movie that doesn’t overly concern itself with its actual monster. The filmmaker certainly doesn’t go out of his way to show his beast. Not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. That’s not the movie he decided to tell. The monster is just a backdrop. The main focus centers on how a small group of people cope and react under such an extreme crisis.

The actors, virtually unknowns, were okay. Mike Vogel (The Deaths Of Ian Stone and Texas Chainsaw Massacre) dies early, not enough to showcase his talent. Lizzy Caplan (In “Mean Girls” as Janis Ian) portrayed her role effectively and was the most convincing among the cast. The character Hud is the perfect commentator and is even funny. You’re not supposed to know a whole lot about the characters, but they are written so you can identify with their bonds and motivations. Filmed at such an intimate level, we see the quiet moments of tragedy, of breaking down, of awkward silence, of uncontrolled panic and of stilted conversations that might be missed in wider narratives. These people and their emotions feel real-and so the unreal they experience becomes more relatable.

It’s scary because it stirs very real fears within such an absurd premise-and puts you right there where just hearing things around you is more terrifying than actually seeing. And it’s personal because the movie creates a connection with its characters. This horror is not happening to Some Giant City. It’s happening to Rob and to Beth and to Hud. Who means the most? Who would you run to when the world collapses? These moments show your true priorities quickly and clearly.

The hand-held camera style shooting can be at times frustrating. The extreme shakes of the camera leaves you wanting more out of the scene. Your curiosity takes over and you want to know more clearly what happened. The jolts, tumbles, explosions and screams convincingly reveals how it would have been if you were there. Even if we don’t care as much for these strangers as we should, we know Hud was right. We do want to know “how it all went down.”

I do have some peeves about the movie. The introductory party was needlessly too long. I also can’t believe that after being impaled at the chest, Beth didn’t bleed to death, none the less run vigorously. On the other hand, there are a few things that I liked about it. Their take on flashbacks – where it seems like the video was taped over an older video which occasionally intervenes – was touching and ingenious at the same time. Product Placements were everywhere and it was great to see (at a Marketing stand point). The monster itself was very interesting and looked cool and so was its ability to spawn new creatures.

But what I liked about it most is that it left so many questions unanswered. Questions about the monster, about the fate of New York, the monster and of the two main characters. However, these questions didn’t actually take from the film nor did it leave you wanting more. The ending gave you a sense of completion with regards to the story the director wanted to relate. This movie succeeds in satisfying the hype it generated and is a deviation from what is usually seen from the genre.


It gets a viral 4 out of 5 or 80% infectious



  1. hener said,

    It’s a Godzilla and Blaire Witch Project combined into a movie. I honestly believed that this was a remake of Power rangers. Which i think is better! HAHAHA NEver really liked it.

  2. James said,

    I never really got the point of the movie… until the very end. After the ending, i was still absorbing everything and i was like “that’s it?!”

    Then i realized it was never really about the monster, with that premise in mind, i was able to appreciate the simple but beautiful message of the movie. It was a story of love like titanic, but this time it’s a monster disaster in place of a nautical tragedy.

    I agree about the recorded-over flashbacks… it ingeniously added more sentiment.

    For me, this movie is ok, save for the eye twisting camera shakes.

  3. krisjasper said,

    after watching blair witch i told myself i’ll never watch movies with “handheld cam” scenes again coz it makes me sick.

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