The ‘Blair Witch Project’ done right

Jason Cominetto ('10)/ Eastside Staff

sdfdsThere have been many monster movies released in the past couple of years, but none have received the amount of hype that “Cloverfield” did. Originally only known as the mysterious “1 – 18 – 08” to viewers of  “Transformers” last summer, “Cloverfield” is a new take on the monster movie genre as viewers watch from a firsthand perspective what it is like to be in New York City when a monster decides to wreak havoc.
Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) lives in Manhattan and is leaving for a new job position in Japan. His friends decide to throw him a surprise going-away party and his best friend Hud Platt (T.J. Miller) has the privilege of videotaping everyone’s goodbye message to Rob throughout the night. But as it gets later a crash is heard outside and explosions riddle Manhattan buildings, as what was originally thought to be an earthquake turns out to be something much worse. The rest of the movie is seen through Platt’s video camera as him, Rob, their friend Lily (Jessica Lucas), and Hud’s love interest Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) travel throughout the streets, subways, and skyscrapers of New York City, trying to find Rob’s love interest Beth (Odette Yustman) while avoiding the monster and receiving aid from the military.
The story is not in-depth, but seeing as “Cloverfield” is a monster movie it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Everything feels a bit rushed and there are many questions left unanswered, which would unacceptable in any other movie. However, in “Cloverfield” this works as a benefit and adds to the realism and creepiness of experiencing a monster film from a more realistic approach.
The main selling point of the film is that it is all seen through a portable video camera to give the viewer the feeling that this is actually happening. What can easily be interpreted as a gimmick is executed beautifully, as no other monster movie gives the viewer quite the same sensation as “Cloverfield” does. The first moments of terror when Hud films his friends running down stairs, only to see the head of the statue of liberty crash right in front of them is frighteningly realistic, and remains that way throughout the movie. However, there were some camera tricks that were used that no amateur would be able to pull off, which detriments from the realism slightly.
The visual effects on the environment are beautifully realistic and the acting is great for the kind of movie “Cloverfield” is. One of the only downsides of the film is that the monster could have been pulled of better, as the effects used on it seem of less quality than those used on its surrounding environment. Overall though, this movie is one of the best monster films released to date, and the unique camera style is amazingly pulled off, resulting in an eerily realistic monster film that doesn’t disappoint.
8/10