12 out of 13 nots
for Survival Panic, and Crazy Shaky Camera Goodness

Let me begin by just saying, if you go see Cloverfield expecting the traditional Us versus Them monster movie, you will be disappointed. The only real battles between humans and monsters are seen in the background, passing by or as “we” run through it. That said, if you go in looking for a heart pounding survival run through New York as it collapses around you, this film totally rock.

More after the break…

The story of the film is a bunch of people are at a going away party for a friend when New York starts exploding. Fireballs in the sky, buildings falling down, and flashes of a giant monster stomping around. A group of people from the party decide to make their way out of New York, and the story goes from there.

And above when I say “Crazy Shaky Camera Goodness”, I mean, take The Blair Witch Project and turn it up to eleven. If you thought kids running through a forest with cameras was shaky, you haven’t seen shaky yet. At least in that film the people were supposed to be film students or something, so they tried to frame shots. This is a guy from the party slinging a camera around. I loved it, but if you get motion sick from shaky camera (or first person shooter video games) you might want to take some Dramamine with you.

The beginning of the film is really slow. Introducing characters as the video camera makes its way around the party, but once the party empties into the street as thunderous booms ring through the air, the action picks up and rarely lets up. What follows is really almost like a documentary. It truly is what I imagine I and my friends might be like if we were in the same situation. The movie is surprisingly funny in that “my brain can’t really handle what is going on here so random words are going to dribble out of my mouth as the thoughts disjointedly form in my head” sort of way. Hud, the man holding the camera, really makes the film. Without his character, the story wouldn’t draw the viewer in as much.

The only thing I didn’t like about the film are the snippets of previous footage that show up now and then. The entire crazy run through the city is being taped over one of the character’s days spent with a girl, and so every once in a while pieces of their day together and at Coney Island slip in between sections of action. It just seems too random, although it does serve to remind you that everything was once not so insane as what is happening “right now”. Well… that and the fact that I felt the movie was way too short: about 84 minutes.

So what is attacking the city? Well, its monsters, and that’s all I can say. Not because I’m being sly and trying not to spoil it, but seriously, the movie is not about the monsters, its about the people. So, no, you never learn what the monsters are for real, but you do see them (unlike the Blair Witch). In the end, you don’t even know if the monsters get defeated. The story of the people ends, the video recording is over, and that is that. I won’t ruin how it ends, but I will say that I enjoyed it very much.

To wrap up, I definitely think this movie is worth seeing. A big thumbs up from me.

One comment

  1. Co-workers are tempting me to play sick to catch the first Friday showing. You’re not making it easier to “do the right thing” and stay at work

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