It's time for me to bite my tongue, after I experienced my first PG-13 monster movie that was far beyond anything I expected. It was tense, gripping, shocking, and most importantly, it looked real. Director Matt Reeves does an amazing job with this picture. The monster, and the havoc it unleashes on Manhattan are stunning. The terror that the characters go through is truly mind-blowing, and what is even better is that it's all captured by a single video camera.
Jason Hawkins (Mike Vogel) and girlfriend Lily Ford (Jessica Lucas) are preparing a surprise party for Jason's brother Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who is going away after he was promoted to vice president by his company. Before Rob arrives, Jason, Lily, and many others gather in a Manhattan apartment waiting for Rob to show up. Lily asks Jason to document the going away party with a hand-held video camera, and walk around getting confessionals from the partygoers. Jason quickly dumps this task into the hands of friend Hud Platt (T. J. Miller), because Jason is not comfortable on how to use the camera, plus he's lazy. Hud begins making his way through the party and one by one asking everyone to say something to the camera about Rob. Eventually, Hud reaches Marlena Diamond (Lizzy Caplan), in which he has a major crush on and annoys her until she ditches him. Finally Rob arrives! Shocked and completely surprised by the surprise, the party has now officially begun. Moments after Rob's arrival, Beth McIntyre (Odette Yustman), who Rob has had a crush on for as long as they can remembers, enters with a random guy. This causes an argument, in which Hud documents throughout. Beth leaves, Rob gets upset, and Hud continues videotaping, none of them ever preparing for what is about to happen. A large crash is heard first; with a moment of complete darkness that follows as all the lights in the city fail. When the lights turn back on, the chaos begins. Beginning with the decapitation of the Statue of Liberty, and ending with the complete demolition of Manhattan. Now, Jason, Lily, Marlena, Hud and Rob have to find a way out of the city before it's too late. But first, Rob has to find and save Beth all while Hud documents the tragedy from beginning to end.
Amazing! I loved how the entire movie is shot with the P.O.V. (point of view) of the cameraman. At times funny, but mostly scary, Cloverfield had me on the edge of my seat from the second that camera is turned on to the moment it shuts off. Very fast-paced, and the minimal amount the creature is seen during the early stages, just makes it that much better when it finally comes into view. Great acting... The sheer terror on the faces of the characters when they see New York slowly crumble is astounding. This might be the only PG-13 rated horror film that I would recommend to everyone.
Pat the Movie Critic give "Cloverfield" --- 3 1/2 Scoops.