Mrs. Blog 'o Stuff and I saw Cloverfield today. It was the biggest movie of the weekend, and if Lost didn't already do it, this film completely cemented J.J. Abrams as an A-List guy in Hollywood. Everybody who is interested in this film already knows the premise, a giant monster wreaks havoc in Manhattan. Unlike the predecessors of this particular sub-genre, the story is told by the people most affected by the attack - the people who live in NYC.
The writers/director/producer gave this move such a human feel. By introducing the characters the way they did, you built up an emotional attachment to them, you felt as if you knew them. That, plus all the viral marketing like the character myspace pages, gives the feeling that these people might be your friends.
It was pretty close to brilliant film making, from beginning to end. I want to see this movie again. I want to pick up on some of the clues that were peppered throughout, a trademark of J.J. Abrams' storytelling.
I'm only getting to the monster right now - the monster is and isn't important. Yes movie-goers want to see what the monster looks like. But like the characters from the "retrieved video camera," the important element that helps to build up the emotional tension is the characters themselves, and how they are affected by the monster.
Of course once the film ends and I sat through the credits (which anybody should do for this film), I wanted to know more about the monster's origins. What is it? From whence did it come? The movie works on a lot of levels, it pulls the heart strings with these characters, keeps you on the edge of your seat, and has you asking questions at film's end. It was a risky although proven successful method of film-making, see The Blair Witch. The night of the monster's "attack" isn't the only thing we see on the video, the video held something prior to the night of the monster attack. Two of the characters, Rob and Beth, spent a day together months prior to the Rob's going away part and those little snippits may (or may not) provide some hints, and more than anything, gives the characters more depth.
Go see the movie before you find out too much more about the monster and the plot.