Length: 85 minutes
Director: Matt Reeves (The Pallbearer; “Felicity”)
Writer: Drew Goddard (“Lost”; “Alias”)
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman, Margot Farley, Brian Klugman
I wrote for my review of “George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead” that if the shaky camera work in “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield” bothered you then you should load up on the Dramamine. That was before I actually watched “Cloverfield”. I should have listened to my own advice. If you thought “The Blair Witch Project” was too shaky- wait until you get a load of this. I had to pause the movie a few times to get my stomach settled. It was like reading a book during a long car ride. Still, that isn’t a knock against the movie. I think that in reality this is exactly how the camera work would look if the person filming was trying to avoid being killed by a huge monster destroying New York City. This was an intense film. It had a lot of hype with it’s mystic “not giving shit away” previews that got it a lot of buzz. I didn’t know what to expect. I missed out on seeing it at the movies, but had heard generally positive feedback from trustworthy friends that had made the trip to the theaters. I think this is the movie that the failed 1998 “Godzilla” remake would have killed to be. I was actually expecting a homage to those cheesy “Godzilla vs. Mothra” type monster movies and instead got a very realistic (you know, for a sci-fi movie anyway) portrayal of how people would re-act if a giant monster actually did start attacking a big city. The characters are believable. They say and do things that you would imagine yourself doing in the same situation. Of course, as with all sci-fi flicks there are moments when you have to stretch your imagination (how much film/battery could make the camera film all of this?). There is a plausible excuse for the filming, though, as the camera man (Michael Stahl-David) explains that “people will want to see how this went down”. What impressed me the most about this movie was that it was created by people mostly with roots in television. Director Matt Reeves went on to directing episodes of “Felicity” and “Homicide: Life on the Streets” after the unfair bombing of his 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow/David Schwimmer vehicle “The Pallbearer” (a sadly underrated date movie). Producer JJ Abrams, the man responsible for “Lost” and “Alias” among others, brought along one of his screenwriters, Drew Goddard, to pen a pretty decent script. Of all the Hollywood movies that I’ve watched recently that have had sitcom/television vibes attached to them, here is one made by television people that really works. It doesn’t relent. It holds up and it doesn’t disappoint. I just wouldn’t recommend loading up on a lot of snacks before you watch it.