Cloverfield (2008) Director: Matt Reeves

Cloverfield is a genius piece of filmmaking and a rollercoaster ride - literally, as its shaky camera work could have you reaching for the sick bag. At first, it's pretty annoying but you soon get into the swing of things and where the 'found footage' really comes into effect is when we get into full-on disaster/monster movie territory - we 'see' and experience Cloverfield as if we are the Hud, the guy behind the camera. It has moments that rival the cup of water vibrating on the car dashboard as the T-Rex approaches in Jurassic Park, or the shock thrills of Jaws - Cloverfield is up there amongst the greatest monster movies.

Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is our leading man, and his leaving party in New York before he starts a new job in Japan is the focal point for the carnage to come. We have some back story about him sleeping with his hot friend Beth (Odette Yustman), and things being considerably AWKWARD when she brings her new date to his leaving party. Things turn even more awkward when an apparent earthquake strikes New York City and all the lights go out. The party goers run to the roof of their apartment building where they see explosions across the City - evacuating, they rush downstairs and outside to have the head of the Statue of Liberty flung down the street at them by a huge mutant lizard. What a moment!

The film has obvious references to the horrific events of 9/11 as buildings fall down and are flattened in New York City, and rivers of dust come towards the innocent bystanders of Cloverfield's wrath. Wrath? Who knows. As we never get to know what Cloverfield is, or what he's all about. If 'he's' a he. Darling, what is your motivation?! That's another part of the joy of this film - we take the monster for what 'he' is as he messes up Manhattan and his spider babies attack the City, but should we feel sorry for Cloverfield? Is he just, sob, misunderstood? The US response is to nuke him and there is a nod to American 'friendly fire' here. What happens to our main protagonists is also firmly in this camp.

A relatively short movie at 85 minutes, Cloverfield grips you and takes you on one hell of a journey. Ultimately, it's a love story between Rob and Beth and the ending is pretty heart-breaking. But Cloverfield comes out the star. I want to see him destroy more cities please!
5/5 devastating Cloverfield tail-swishes