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Watch Cloverfield (2008), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

Sep 7, 2022
Watch Cloverfield (2008), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

Watch Cloverfield (2008), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

 

Cloverfield (2008)

A group of friends venture deep into the streets of New York on a rescue mission during a rampaging monster attack.

Cloverfield is a 2008 American found footage monster film directed by Matt Reeves, produced by J. J. Abrams, and written by Drew Goddard. It stars Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, and T.J. Miller. The plot follows six young New York City residents fleeing from a massive monster and various other smaller creatures that attack the city while they are having a farewell party.

Development began when producer J. J. Abrams started conceptualizing a new monster and enlisted Neville Page to design the creature, referred to as Clover. In February 2007, the project was secretly greenlit by Paramount Pictures and produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. Principal photography took place in Los Angeles and New York City that same year. During production, the project went under several working titles, including SlushoCheese and Greyshot.

As part of a viral marketing campaign, a teaser trailer was released ahead of screenings of Transformers without a title attached. The film’s official title was revealed in a second teaser trailer attached to screenings of Beowulf. With limited details revealed about the film prior to release, it garnered online speculation, including forums and websites dedicated to uncovering any hidden information about the film. Several tie-ins, including a prequel manga series, were released as part of the film’s marketing campaign.

Cloverfield was released on January 18, 2008, and received positive reviews from critics, who praised Reeves’ direction and the film’s cinéma vérité style narrative. It earned $172 million worldwide at the box office against a $25 million budget. The film served as the first installment of the Cloverfield franchise, followed by 10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016 and The Cloverfield Paradox in 2018. A direct sequel is in development.

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Cloverfield (2008) Trailer

 

Cloverfield (2008) Reviews

Godzilla meets the Queasy-Cam in “Cloverfield,” a movie that crosses the Monster Attacks Manhattan formula with “Blair Witch.” No, Godzilla doesn’t appear in person, but the movie’s monster looks like a close relative on the evolutionary tree, especially in one closeup. The closeup ends with a POV shot of the guy with the video camera being eaten, but the camera survives. If he’d left the camera’s light on, I might have been reminded of the excellent video of my colonoscopy.

The movie, which has been in a vortex of rumors for months, is actually pretty scary at times. It’s most frightening right after something Very Bad begins to happen in lower Manhattan, and before we get a good look at the monster, which is scarier as a vaguely glimpsed enormity than as a big reptile.

At least I think it’s a reptile, although it sheds babies by the dozens, and they look more like spiders crossed with crabs. At birth, they are already fully formed and functioning, able to scamper all over town, bite victims, grab them in subway tunnels, etc. I guess that makes the monster a female, although Godzilla, you will recall, had a baby, and the fanboys are still arguing over its gender. (Hold on! I just discovered online that those are not its babies at all, but giant parasitic lice that drop off and go looking for dinner.)

The film, directed by Matt Reeves, is the baby of producer J.J. Abrams, creator of TV’s “Lost.” It begins with home-video-type footage and follows the fortunes of six twentysomething yuppies.

The lead character is Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who is about to leave town for a job in Japan. At a farewell surprise party, Hud (T.J.Miller) takes over the camera and tapes friends wishing Rob well, including Jason (Mike Vogel) and the beautiful Lily (Jessica Lucas). Hud is especially attentive toward Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), who says she’s just on her way to meet some friends. She never gets there. The building is jolted, the lights flicker, and everyone runs up to the roof to see all hell breaking loose.

The initial scenes of destruction are glimpsed at a distance. Then things heat up when the head of the Statue of Liberty rolls down the street. Several shots of billowing smoke clouds are unmistakable evocations of 9/11, and indeed one of the movie’s working titles was “1/18/08.” So the statute has run out on the theory that after 9/11 it would be in bad taste to show Manhattan being destroyed. So explicit are the 9/11 references in “Cloverfield” that the monster is seen knocking over skyscrapers, and one high-rise is seen leaning against another.

The leaning high-rise contains Beth (Odette Yustman), who Rob feels duty-bound to rescue from her 49th-floor apartment near Central Park. The others all come along on this foolhardy mission (not explained: how after walking all the way to Columbus Circle they have the energy to climb 49 flights of stairs, Lily in her high heels).

Part of their uptown journey is by subway, without the benefit of trains. They’re informed by a helpful soldier that the last rescue helicopter leaving Central Park will have “wheels up at oh-six-hundred,” begging the question of how many helicopters it would take to rescue the population of Manhattan.

The origin of the monster goes unexplained, which is all right with me after the tiresome opening speeches in so many of the 30 or more “Godzilla” films. The characters speculate that it came from beneath the sea, or maybe from outer space, but incredibly, not one of them ever utters the word “Godzilla,” no doubt for trademark reasons. The other incredible element is that the camcorder’s battery apparently lasts, on the evidence of the footage we see, more than six hours, maybe 12.

The entire film is shot in Queasy-Cam hand-held style, mostly by Hud, who couldn’t hold it steady or frame a shot if his life depended on it. After the screening, I heard some fellow audience members complaining that they felt dizzy or had vertigo, but no one barfed, at least within my hearing.

Mercifully, at 84 minutes the movie is even shorter than its originally alleged 90-minute running time; how much visual shakiness can we take? And yet, all in all, it is an effective film, deploying its special effects well and never breaking the illusion that it is all happening as we see it. One question, which you can answer for me after you see the film: Given the nature of the opening government announcement, how did the camera survive?

  • Roger Ebert  –  Roger Ebert
  • Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Cloverfield (2008) Credits

Cloverfield movie poster

Cloverfield (2008)

Rated PG-13 violence, terror and disturbing images

85 minutes

Cast

Odette Yustman as Beth

Jessica Lucas as Lily

Mike Vogel as Jason

Michael Stahl-David as Rob

T.J. Miller as Hud

Lizzy Caplan as Marlena

Written by

  • Drew Goddard

Directed by

  • Matt Reeves

 

Cloverfield (2008) Plot

The film is presented as footage from a personal camcorder recovered by the United States Department of Defense in the area “formerly known as Central Park”, bearing a disclaimer stating multiple sightings of a case designated Cloverfield.

Older, saved footage from April 27, shows Robert “Rob” Hawkins waking up with Elizabeth “Beth” McIntyre in her father’s apartment above Columbus Circle before sharing a special day across New York City and Coney Island. Fragments of this overwritten footage appear during the course of the film.

On May 22, Rob has a farewell party thrown for him by his brother Jason and Jason’s girlfriend Lily, celebrating Rob’s new job as vice-president for a company in Japan. Jason gets Rob’s best-friend Hudson “Hud” Platt to film testimonials for Rob during the party. Beth, who Rob has now broken up with, brings a new man to the party.

Beth and Rob argue over her guest, and Beth leaves shortly before a massive earthquake occurs, causing a brief citywide power outage; the local news reports a capsized oil tanker near Liberty Island. From the roof, the party-goers witness an explosion in the distance and flee as flaming debris flies in their direction.

As the party-goers leave the building, the severed head of the Statue of Liberty is hurled into the street in front of them. In the chaos, Hud records an enormous creature several blocks away collapsing the Woolworth Building. During the group’s planned evacuation of Manhattan, the creature’s tail destroys the Brooklyn Bridge, killing Jason and dozens of other people. News reports show the Army National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division attacking the monster. Smaller parasite creatures fall off its body and attack nearby pedestrians and soldiers.[a]

Rob listens to a phone message from Beth, in which she indicates she is trapped in her apartment at the Time Warner Center and unable to move. Going against the crowd, Rob, Hud, Lily, and Hud’s crush, Marlena Diamond, venture into Midtown Manhattan to rescue Beth. By 3:17 a.m., they get caught in a battle between the creature and the Army National Guard, run into the subway, and are attacked by several of the parasites. While saving Hud, Marlena is bitten by one of the creatures.

The four escape the subway and enter a below ground mall where she begins to feel unwell. They are found by military and taken to a command center and field hospital nearby. In reaction to being bitten, Marlena begins bleeding from her eyes. She is forcibly taken into a tent, where she appears to explode. Rob, still intending on saving Beth, persuades one of the military leaders to let them go.

He is then informed when the last evacuation helicopter will depart before the military executes its “Hammer Down Protocol,” which will destroy Manhattan in its entirety in order to kill the monster.

They travel to Beth’s apartment building to discover it toppled on its side. After crossing roofs from the opposite building, the group finds her impaled on exposed rebar. They free her and make their way to the evacuation site at Grand Central Terminal, where they encounter the creature again. Lily is first rushed into a departing Marine Corps helicopter to escape before the terminal is destroyed. Moments later, Rob, Beth, and Hud are taken away in a second helicopter and witness the creature being bombed.

The bombing causes the creature to fall and success is assumed, but then it lunges out of the smoke, hitting the helicopter and causing it to crash in Central Park, killing the pilot and everyone inside except Rob, Beth, and Hud.

Less than an hour later, a voice on the crashed helicopter’s radio warns that the Hammer Down protocol will begin in fifteen minutes. The three friends regain consciousness, and attempt to flee; Hud turns back to retrieve the camera when the creature suddenly appears and kills him. Rob and Beth grab the camera and take shelter under an arch as sirens blare, and the bombing starts.

Rob and Beth each provide their last testimony of the day’s events. The bridge begins to crumble, and the camera is knocked out of Rob’s hand and buried beneath rubble. Rob and Beth proclaim their love for each other just as the bomb explodes, the camera freezing up before the footage cuts.

The film ends with the finale of Rob and Beth’s trip to Coney Island on a Ferris wheel. Unseen by them, an indiscernible object falls from the sky into the ocean. Just before the camera cuts out, Beth states, “I had a good day.”

After the credits, a voice can be heard saying, “Help us…” However, when played in reverse, it says, “It’s still alive.”

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Cloverfield (2008) Box office

Cloverfield opened in 3,411 theaters on January 18, 2008, and grossed a total of $16,930,000 on its opening day in the United States and Canada. It made $40.1 million on its opening weekend, which at the time was the most successful January release (record then taken by Ride Along in 2014 with a weekend gross of $41.5 million).

Moreover, the film simultaneously beat Titanic and Black Hawk Down to have the biggest Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend and opening weekend grosses.

Worldwide, it has grossed $170,602,318, making it the first movie in 2008 to gross over $100 million. In Japan, the film held the top spot in the box office rankings for one week before the release of Kamen Rider Den-O & Kiva: Climax Deka took the top spot in its first weekend.

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Cloverfield (2008) Critical Response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based on 212 reviews, with an average rating of 6.80/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “A sort of Blair Witch Project crossed with GodzillaCloverfield is economically paced, stylistically clever, and filled with scares”. According to Metacritic, the film has received an average score of 64 out of 100 based on 37 reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.  Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “C” on an A+ to F scale. 

Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle called the film “the most intense and original creature feature I’ve seen in my adult moviegoing life […] a pure-blood, grade A, exhilarating monster movie”. He cites Matt Reeves’ direction, the “whip-smart, stylistically invisible” script and the “nearly subconscious evocation of our current paranoid, terror-phobic times” as the keys to the film’s success, saying that telling the story through the lens of one character’s camera “works fantastically well”.

Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter called it “chillingly effective”, generally praising the effects and the film’s “claustrophobic intensity”. He said that though the characters “aren’t particularly interesting or developed”, there was “something refreshing about a monster movie that isn’t filled with the usual suspects”.

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said that the film was “surreptitiously subversive, [a] stylistically clever little gem”, and that while the characters were “vapid, twenty-something nincompoops” and the acting “appropriately unmemorable”, the decision to tell the story through amateur footage was “brilliant”.

Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four and wrote that it is “pretty scary at times” and cites “unmistakable evocations of 9/11”. He concludes that “all in all, it is an effective film, deploying its special effects well and never breaking the illusion that it is all happening as we see it”.[74]

Todd McCarthy of Variety called the film an “old-fashioned monster movie dressed up in trendy new threads”, praising the special effects, “nihilistic attitude” and “post-9/11 anxiety overlay.” but said, “In the end, [it’s] not much different from all the marauding creature features that have come before it”. Scott Foundas of LA Weekly was critical of the film’s use of scenes reminiscent of the September 11 attacks in New York City and called it “cheap and opportunistic”.

He suggested that the film was engaging in “stealth” attempts at social commentary and compared this unfavorably to the films of Don Siegel, George A. Romero and Steven Spielberg, saying, “Where those filmmakers all had something meaningful to say about the state of the world and […] human nature, Abrams doesn’t have much to say about anything”.

Manohla Dargis in the New York Times called the allusions “tacky”, saying, “[The images] may make you think of the attack, and you may curse the filmmakers for their vulgarity, insensitivity or lack of imagination”, but that “the film is too dumb to offend anything except your intelligence”. She concludes that the film “works as a showcase for impressively realistic-looking special effects, a realism that fails to extend to the scurrying humans whose fates are meant to invoke pity and fear but instead inspire yawns and contempt”.

Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com calls the film “badly constructed, humorless and emotionally sadistic”, and sums up by saying that the film “takes the trauma of 9/11 and turns it into just another random spectacle at which to point and shoot”. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune warned that the viewer may feel “queasy” at the references to September 11, but that “other sequences […] carry a real jolt” and that such tactics were “crude, but undeniably gripping.” He called the film “dumb”, but “quick and dirty and effectively brusque”, concluding that despite it being “a harsher, more demographically calculating brand of fun”, he enjoyed the film.

Bruce Paterson of Cinephilia described the film as “a successful experiment in style but not necessarily a successful story for those who want dramatic closure”. Some critics also pointed out the similarity to the Half-Life video game series, in particular the “Ant-lion” monsters from Half-Life 2, and the constant first-person perspective.

Empire magazine named it the fifth best film of 2008. The French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma named the film as the third best of 2008.

Bloody Disgusting ranked the film number twenty in their list of the “Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade”, with the article calling the film “A brilliant conceit, to be sure, backed by a genius early marketing campaign that followed the less-is-more philosophy to tantalizing effect…much like Blair Witch nearly ten years earlier, Cloverfield helped prove, particularly in its first half hour, that what you don’t see can be the scariest thing of all”.

In 2022, Aedan Juvet of Screen Rant revisited the original film, labeling it as an “influential” found footage, sci-fi hybrid.

 

Cloverfield (2008) Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2008 Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction Film Cloverfield Won
Best Supporting Actress Lizzy Caplan Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Horror Movie of the Year Cloverfield Won
Most Underrated Movie of the Year Nominated
Trippiest Movie of the Year Nominated
Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year Nominated
Best Special Effects of the Year Nominated
Favorite Movie Poster of the Year Nominated
Best Trailer of the Year Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Thriller Cloverfield Nominated
Most Original Nominated
Internet Film Critics Society Awards Most Experimental Film Cloverfield Won
Italian Online Movie Awards Best Special Effects Cloverfield Nominated
Scream Awards Best Science Fiction Movie Cloverfield Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller Cloverfield Nominated
Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller Actor Michael Stahl-David Nominated
Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller Actress Odette Yustman Nominated
2009 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films Michael Giacchino Won
International Film Music Critics Awards Film Music Composition of the Year Michael Giacchino Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Wide Release Film Cloverfield Nominated
Worst Film Nominated
Best Score Michael Giacchino Won
Gold Derby Awards Visual Effects Kevin Blank, Mike Ellis and Eric Leven Nominated
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film Douglas Murray, Will Files, Cheryl Nardi, Sue Fox and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle Nominated
Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film Will Files, Douglas Murray, Luke Dunn Gielmuda, Robert Shoup, Josh Gold, Andrea Gard, Steve Bissinger, Kim Foscato, Samuel H. Hinckley, Andy Malcolm and Goro Koyama Nominated
International Online Cinema Awards Best Visual Effects Cloverfield Nominated
Best Sound Mixing Anna Behlmer, Will Files and Ed White Nominated
Best Sound Editing Douglas Murray and Will Files Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture Cloverfield Nominated
Best Single Visual Effect of the Year Nominated
Outstanding Created Environment in a Feature Motion Picture Nominated

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Cloverfield (2008) Movie Info

As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know that they will soon face the most terrifying night of their lives. A creature the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Using a handheld video camera, the friends record their struggle to survive as New York crumbles around them.

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