Cloverfield...clever psychological ploys...

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    Jan 21, 2008 5:25 AM GMT
    I just got back from seeing Cloverfield. (Nothing given away below that you haven't seen in the promos on TV).

    What a terrifying (not scary, but downright terror provoking) movie. I still feel a sense of disquiet tonight. It's sort of how I felt on 9/11 BEFORE I knew what was going on.

    And, the terror was made the worse by the non sequitur smart ass antics of the protagonists in it. But, if you see it, prepare to be somewhat disturbed (not because of gore, but because it is so realistic you can imagine yourself there).

    I undestand it was made on a low budget, and what budget they had was mostly spent on a few special effects, that (a) were so well-done, it's hard to believe you are not seeing New York being destroyed in piecemeal fashion; (b) are only briefly seen (because the movie is shot from the point of view of survivors taking video and running at the same time), which probably means that you don't have time to process anything that might appear fake. The whole thing has a feeling of confusion and panic, and the sense that the next moment might be your last, without really knowing why.

    It's odd that I feel so, well, disquieted after seeing that movie. It's worth seeing just to try to capture what the director was trying to accomplish without much gore (actually, hardly any) and capturing what would probably really be happening...total confusion and panic.
  • GQjock

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    Jan 21, 2008 10:48 AM GMT
    I have been waiting to hear what the buzz was about this movie because they had a really clever pre-release campaign
    The scary trailer has been out forever
    and they kept the lid on any additional info getting out too
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    Jan 21, 2008 6:44 PM GMT
    GQjock saidI have been waiting to hear what the buzz was about this movie because they had a really clever pre-release campaign
    The scary trailer has been out forever
    and they kept the lid on any additional info getting out too


    It's not just another remake of Godzilla. In the Godzilla movies (and others like them) 80-90% of the movie is devoted to showing the creature, destroying things, eating people, and you have plenty of time to consider how fake the whole thing is.

    In this movie, 80% of the film is devoted to showing the reactions of the 5 protagonists, including what they see (which, in real life, would also be just brief glimpses). That means the portions that show (without giving it away) the source of the terror are really brief.

    On the other hand, as in real life, you'd see and hear the results constantly (meaning, think about an actual disaster...columns of smoke, sirens, explosions near and far and more, without giving anything away).

    I didn't mean to say that the movie has not got scary moments. It does. It's the underlying sense of terror (meaning, a low to high grade panic at all times) that really distinguishes this movie from other "big monster" movies.

    John
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    Jan 21, 2008 6:47 PM GMT
    I liked how it built up and built up then left you hanging without any clear resolution or ending.
  • jarhead5536

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    Jan 21, 2008 6:51 PM GMT
    fastprof,

    This is the same sort of technique Ridley Scott used in the first Alien film. After a pretty shocking and horrifying scene of monstrous violence, the movie's entire midsection consists of long, quiet shots where everyone is waiting for something to happen, and it never does. The tension is built to almost unbearable levels, and when the monster finally does appear, the payoff is huge...
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    Jan 21, 2008 7:43 PM GMT
    jarhead5536 saidThis is the same sort of technique Ridley Scott used in the first Alien film. After a pretty shocking and horrifying scene of monstrous violence, the movie's entire midsection consists of long, quiet shots where everyone is waiting for something to happen, and it never does. The tension is built to almost unbearable levels, and when the monster finally does appear, the payoff is huge...



    Yes, and also the technique used in the original "The Thing", made in 1951. You get only brief glimpses of the monster, and most of the terror surrounds what you can't see, and the sense that something is stalking you. (Actually, they did that well in "The Blair Witch Project" too.

    John
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    Jan 21, 2008 7:51 PM GMT
    Heh...just in time for the campaign season.

    Cloverfield...produced and directed by Karl Rove.

    BOO! Now vote scared, minions.

    (yes, I know I'm out there for making such a comment)
  • drakutis

    Posts: 586

    Jan 21, 2008 7:55 PM GMT
    I enjoyed the movie because it really left you with a sense of "what the hell is going on" because nothing was shown outright to you and there was no explanation or sense of preparedness for what was going on. I know this much, if I lived in NY during 9/11, seeing this movie would have probably brought that back. I really thought it was a well done movie. I also think there's more than one creature!!!
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    Jan 21, 2008 7:57 PM GMT
    Please type "SPOILER" at the top your reply, if it's appropriate.
  • Paradigm_Shif...

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    Jan 21, 2008 8:02 PM GMT
    I saw Colverfield Saturday and I must say, I absolutely hated it...

    I agree that the idea is pretty original and parts of the film are very well done, but I spent the last 20 minutes of the film frustrated by the absolutely unrealistic plot.

    Im not going to give anything away, but I thought the main character was pussywhipped!! and there is NOO WAY someone would STILLL be shooting with that camera by the end of the film. They would have dropped the camera and RAN!! lol.

    Plus I thought the ending was a complete let down.
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    Jan 21, 2008 8:08 PM GMT
    XRuggerATX saidHeh...just in time for the campaign season. Cloverfield...produced and directed by Karl Rove.)


    Hah. Very true.

    Since what I am about to say is on all of the trailers that have been widely distributed to the media, I'll comment on the initial "destruction" scenes.

    I thought they were absolutely, paralyzingly horrifying in a nightmarish way. They looked so realistic, it was difficult not to believe that I was actually witnessing it.

    By the way, I see someone just posted on the "point of view" technique used to recount the story. Again, without giving it away, let's leave the Director and Screenplay writers some poetic license. There are many movies in which the characters make consistently stupid and unrealistic decisions. But that's the vehicle the director uses to tell the story. As a matter of fact, the whole thing is preposterous, as are the stories in many movies. It's sci fi/terror, and it's well done IMHO.

    John
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    Jan 21, 2008 8:15 PM GMT
    I saw it, and I loved it. I really felt genuine tension deep deep down in me when the movie was occurring. I thought it was about as smart as a monster movie can be, thoroughly raising the bar for all followers. However, I went with a bunch of empiricists who do not enjoy ANYTHING. Also some dumb sorostitutes were saying "This is the worst movie ever" as the movie was going on. Very frustrating.
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    Jan 21, 2008 8:26 PM GMT
    i thought it was a fantastic film that was genuinely terrifying. i'm not big on the "monster-movie" genre, but i'd definitely recommend this to anyone who's looking for a good one.
  • Paradigm_Shif...

    Posts: 251

    Jan 21, 2008 8:29 PM GMT
    I agree with Fastprof in that you have to suspend belief to watch any crazy action movie, and thats what I did. I was so into the movie after the first few scenes and the beginning was really well done. Very realistic.

    My problem was with the second half. As the story went on, the plot got more and more ridiculous. Toward the end, no matter how much I wanted to stay with it, I just found myself thinking, "Oh Come ON!!!"

    I think they could have come up with a better story line with such a wide open premise, and Im SURE they could have come up with a better ending...
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    Jan 21, 2008 9:25 PM GMT
    str8hardbody saidTHE WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!! My friends & I left after an hour. It give me a severe headache. It was done w/ camcorder No Plot it was boring. Most of the movie goers did not like it either


    Well, I am not being paid by the Director or Producer to hype this film. icon_twisted.gif

    However, while I understand that the "camcorder" view is disturbing, and not the wide screen cinemascope experience of Indiana Jones or National Treasure, all I can say is that it brings the same immediacy that the camcorder views we had on 9/11 did.

    It is realistic because that's exactly what you'd see from someone's camcorder. And there WOULD be someone shooting video like this. As for plot, come on. I understand ParadigmShift's concerns..about the way the thing resolved, but, as I said, str8hardbody, the whole notion of a monster in New York is preposterous.

    Please, let's not give anything away, but the director chose to engage 20-somethings by creating a premise about why the characters chose to stay in New York. Let's leave the director poetic license.

    That poetic license aside, I doubt I have ever seen "disaster" scenes as believable and as horrifying as this in a sci fi movie.

    But, I understand how people would NOT like it. I just had a friend of mine tell me he won't see it because it is feeding on people's 9/11 panic, and creating xenophobia...blah, blah, blah.

    It's a movie, for criminy sake. icon_razz.gif
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    Jan 21, 2008 10:09 PM GMT
    I admit, I was a bit nauseous, but that could have been from the sushi before hand.

    I think people with a very rigid idea of what a movie "should" be, won't like this movie.

    And I also had the "come on" moments, too. But it's easy for me to think actions are ridiculous if I am in a movie theatre instead of the streets.
  • EverettNYC

    Posts: 27

    Jan 21, 2008 10:19 PM GMT
    SPOILER
    I saw it on Saturday and while I was mildly entertained, I was overall disappointed. The first-person filming made me a bit dizzy, too many questions were left unanswered, and there wasn't enough character development to really feel bad about when they died. When the chick from Mean Girls exploded, I was like "ha! she's a lesbian anyway."

    I was in NYC during 9/11 and this movie didn't remind me of that day at all.

    I highly doubt someone would be videotaping hours' worth of events during a major catastrophe because they would be too concerned with the immediacy of what is happening. In crisis moments like the characters went through during certain parts of the film, that camera would have been lost within moments.

    Overall - meh. Not entirely not worth the $12, but it could have been better. I thought the monster was pretty cool though - SOOOO glad it wasn't a remake of freakin godzilla or whatever.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jan 26, 2008 7:55 AM GMT
    I just saw it....
    Thought it was a fun joy ride
    While I was on line there were signs in the movie theater
    "If you suffer from motion sickness be warned that this movie might affect you"
    I could definitely see this happening
    There's really never any let up in this movie
    Plus if you know NYC it's even more fun
    'cause you can say
    "I used to live a block away from there!"
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    Jan 31, 2008 1:59 AM GMT
    Before a friend and I saw Cloverfield, I was hoping -- based on the reviews and word of mouth -- to see a movie that cleverly concealed the monster and relied upon fear of the unseen.

    I knew there wouldn't be much of a plot or character development, but I figured that if the characters behaved believably under the circumstances, the movie could still be pretty cool. The warnings of vertigo didn't faze me -- I love roller coasters.

    Unfortunately, my friend and I discovered that the movie consisted of unrelenting and explicit violence -- loud military violence in which the audience is caught in the middle of rocket fire, and monsters big and small that (in plain view) did unspeakable things to people -- up close and in-your-face.

    Furthermore, the characters' actions were persistently stupid, bordering on suicidal, and I felt terribly frustrated to be trapped in the heads (or the camera) of such reckless and idiotic individuals for an hour and a half.

    So my friend and I emerged from the movie, not in a state of terror, but more like a state of PTSD. The movie felt too much like being in the middle of an all-out Iraqi ambush for 75 minutes with people who seemed determined to get killed. There also were some lethal encounters -- survivability of zero -- from which characters walked away, almost as if we were trapped in a video game where characters simply resurrect themselves at the end of a turn. With characters surviving so easily, the movie lost some of its suspense even as the audience's anxiety and stress built up from all the violence.

    I later followed up on various viral web sites to learn the backstory, and that background story seemed even less believable -- basically a comic-book story rather than a credible explanation for the monster's origins.

    Sorry if I sound like a whiner here :-) but I really didn't like Cloverfield. If you're in the mood for violence, check out Sweeney Todd or rent Kill Bill -- the violence in those movies is much more intelligent.
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    Jan 31, 2008 2:28 AM GMT
    I wonder how the movie's doing in NYC as compared to other places.
  • Sayrnas

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    Feb 03, 2008 8:58 AM GMT
    I LOVED this movie. All the small details and hints about the stuff here and there...good stuff. Reminds me of Kill Bill with all the REALLY small details everywhere that make it what it is (really cartoonie and funny). Example Kill Bill wise, the cereal box Vernita Green shoots the bride with saids "Kaboom!" on the box.


    *SPOLIER!!!* Cloverfield wise, the Spongebob clip. I don't remember exactly what was on it but it had something to do with something attacking Bikini Bottom. Or the commentary Hud gave when ever someone freaked out. ("WHAT IS THAT?!"
    "Something Terrible.")
  • bigguysf

    Posts: 329

    Feb 03, 2008 9:48 AM GMT
    CLOVERFIELD WAS THE BIGGEST AND STUPIDEST PIECE OF CRAP I HAVE SEEN IN YEARS!!!
    And so as not to do double duty, I'm copying my Yahoo Movie review text to explain why I wish I could take back the hour and a half I wasted watching Stupid Rob with his Stupid friends doing the stupidest and most inane things I have seen people do in a movie.
    ----------------------
    Big Disappointment - Even for 6 Bucks
    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    Like many others, I got sucked in by what seemed to be a really great trailer that promised something very cool. Boy was I wrong!

    On my way home I realized that, for me, the main ingredient for a great horror/monster movie is protagonists who react as we all would to the circumstances of what is happening to them. Ripley in the first "Alien" is a good example. The movie was scary because she was just trying to survive in the midst of a horrific situation.

    Back to "Cloverfield"... if a monster were destroying downtown San Francisco, I would NOT, repeat NOT, head towards it to save someone I had slept with. Especially knowing that it had destroyed a substantial part of the city, had killed hundreds or perhaps thousands of people, and was being battled unsuccessfully by the U.S. Army. Once that decision was made by the protagonists, my identification with them and their plight immediately stopped. And in fact, I was looking forward to seeing when each of them was going to "bite it".

    Stupidity and implausibility. That about sums it up. And a special implausibility mention goes to the monster, who just seems to want to follow this particular group of idiots all over the city.

    All I can say is "Thank god for the first $6 showing of the day!"
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    Feb 03, 2008 10:17 AM GMT
    I saw this last night with my friends. We all enjoyed it. I think you can view it on two levels: either as a fun monster movie populated by dumb twentysomethings; or, as a clever Hollywood allegory about America's invasion of Iraq and its consequences.

    It's also interesting to see New York being completely destroyed - yet again. Hollywood producers seem to have an obsession with blowing up this fine city vis Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, Independence Day etc.

    Never happens to London.
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    Feb 03, 2008 10:18 AM GMT
    I thought the producers were brave to leave the audience on such an unresolved note: bit like what's happening with Iraq and Afghanistan.
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    Feb 03, 2008 11:10 AM GMT
    I agree with the above post...I was all for this movie until I realized that the only reason they went back into a burning city was to save his stupid on again/off again girlfriend...Who btw had the audacity to show up at HIS going away party that night with another guy!