1 hour, 20 minutes
PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.
for violence, terror, and some profanity.
DVD Features: Audio commentary by director Matt Reeves; featurettes including "The Making of Cloverfield," "Cloverfield Visual Effects," "I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge," and "Clover Fun"; additional scenes including "Congrats Rob," "When You're in Japan," "I Call That a Date," "It's Going to Hurt," and two alternate endings; 11 Easter Eggs.
Lizzy Caplan ... Marlena Diamond
Jessica Lucas ... Lily Ford
T.J. Miller ... Hud Platt
Michael Stahl-David ... Rob Hawkins
Mike Vogel ... Jason Hawkins
Odette Yustman ... Beth McIntyre
The film starts at a big New York City going-away party for Rob (Michael Stahl-David) being thrown by his brother, Jason (Mike Vogel) and his girl-friend, Lily (Jessica Lucas). Jason has asked his pal, Hud (T.J. Miller), a hulking, dim-witted fellow, to shoot the party using Robís borrowed camcorder and Hud agrees in order to impress Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), who seems totally disinterested in the guy. Meanwhile, Robís old girlfriend Beth (Odette Yustman), his one true love arrives at the party, but before long she leaves with another guy. All of this action is captured with complete ineptitude by Hud.
While the party continues, there's a sudden gigantic jolt, and they turn on the news which announces that an earthquake has shaken the city. The power goes out and the party-goers rush into the street just in time to see the head of the Statue of Liberty land less than a block away. No one knows what is going on, Hud can barely hold onto the camera, and everyone starts running toward the Brooklyn Bridge.
Suddenly they see a monster, the size of a skyscraper, and not a friendly one. And coming out of him are dozens of tiny little creatures that are even less friendly as they scuttle about using their multiple legs, claws, and teeth.
Director Matt Reeves ("The Pallbearer") working with producer J.J. Abrahms ("Lost") has made an adrenaline-filled old-fashioned monster movie. Their clever use of Hud's hand-held camera captures the immediacy of what is happening with bad framing that heightens rather than distracts from the tension. And that tension doesnít let up from the first awkward moments at the party, right through to the final shot. The sudden realization that rats are silently fleeing from something unknown in a tunnel is almost as terrifying as the destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge, with wires snapping and concrete buckling beneath swarms of pedestrians fleeing the city.
There is a surprising amount of humor, but there are also some rather large flaws in the storyline, but it doesnít matter. What does matter is that is seems reasonable that a man will go back into a city terrorized by a monster and the military fighting a futile battle to kill him in order to save the woman he loves. The inability to see exactly what is happening some of the time is part of the film's appeal. Some will find it frustrating. Others will find it exhilarating. But it's chilling, suspenseful and quite entertaining.