DVD Review: Cloverfield

Paramount Home Entertainment
SRP $ 29.95

Director: Matt Reeves
Stars: TJ Miller, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, Michael Stahl-David
Cloverfield came to us in a tantalizing mix of hype (massive, clever online promotion) and secrecy. There were monsters, that much was known, but their origins, their images, these things were hush hush.

More often than not, heavily hyped films stumble (Snakes/Plane for example).

Guess what? Cloverfield actually delivers the goods.

In what is an intriguing mix of computer effects and old-school guerilla filmmaking, Matt Reeves delivers a pretty entertaining Saturday afternoon monster flick.

Cloverfield starts out at a going-away party for Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David). Rob has landed a very choice job overseas. Now I could spend the next one hundred words explaining all of the dramas involved in our happy gang of partygoers, but I will let you experience it for yourselves.

But I will say that this party scene does exactly what it is supposed to do: introduce the folks in danger and give you some semblance of a reason to care whether they live or die. Too many current horror/monster flicks seem to spend more time making the monsters cool (Paging Rob Zombie) than giving us people to care about. Sure we expect some to die awful deaths, but at least try to build some empathy towards them.

Now there have been plenty of reports of folks getting sick in the movie theaters, this is because the film is shot via handheld camera. The idea is that we are seeing it from the perspective of the person that was filming the party. The effect is not unlike that of the Blair Witch Project, but while that film relied completely on our imaginations to provide the thrills, Cloverfield had provided a pretty damn funky monster to lay waste on the Big Apple.

The camera work, along with a lack of background music, really puts give us the perspective of our protagonists.

Films geeks will really have fun with the extras. As I said before, Cloverfield is a blend of special effects and low-budget filmmaking. The extras show just how this odd marriage came about.

First off, director Matt Reeves offers up a very fast-paced commentary track. Reeves gives plenty of bang for the buck, with very few moment so silence. Listening to him, you can’t help but appreciate how much thought went into the overall style of Cloverfield.

In addition to the commentary track, we get a little over an hour of featurettes that talk about the monster(s) as well as breaking down the effects and showing just how crazy the 30 day production was.

We are also given a blooper reel (yawn), a handful of deleted scenes and a alternate ending. Nothing out of the ordinary in these, and the alternate ending is simply a little longer with no real impact.

Anyone looking for a cinematic masterpiece really needs to go elsewhere, but if you desire some McNasties wrecking havoc, Cloverfield may just be what the doctor ordered.

Order Cloverfield from Amazon.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.