Lizzy Caplan as Marlena Diamond
Jessica Lucas as Lily Ford
T.J. Miller as Hud Platt
Michael Stahl-David as Rob Hawkins
Mike Vogel as Jason Hawkins
Odette Yustman as Beth McIntyre
Cloverfield is amusing and suspenseful throughout, yes. After all, who doesn’t like to see a big monster leveling a major US city? But even despite its grossly anticlimactic ending, the visual disorientation caused by seeing this film through they lens of a shaky hand-held video camera unfortunately makes us relieved when it’s over.
The film eerily opens with a video camera being found in Cloverfield, the area “formerly known as Central Park”. And from the footage found on this video camera we have our film. Sound familiar? Yes it does resemble Blair Witch Project but instead of a creepy, still mountain setting with a handful of frightened campers and a killer on the loose, we are in Downtown Manhattan with millions of screaming people fleeing a 300-foot tall lizard-like monster. And although Hud, the heroic videographer manages to hold on to that camera all night despite the terror going on around him, the visual disjointedness of the film left Horror Queen with a massive headache. That said, the sheer horror of wondering what the heck is happening to New York City with 911 (and of course the recent King Kong remake) fresh in our minds, manages to keep our breath bated throughout Cloverfield.
e first footage found on the tape was taken in April by our main character Rob. It’s a video of himself and long time friend and recent one-night stand Beth, waking up after they have slept together and then going to Coney Island. Cute and happy. The footage that follows is of a trendy twenty-something going away party for Rob in May, taken by his friend Hud. Although Hud at first doesn’t want to take on the role of videographer, he soon takes to it, so much so that he manages to catch the horrific events that follow that night without wavering. He would have made good paparazzi.
Now a month after their Coney Island trip together, Beth shows up to Rob’s going away party with another man, which sends Rob into an immediate depression. Lucky for him the party is suddenly interrupted by a loud crash and the lights going out. As Rob and his friends flee down to the streets of Manhattan they are shocked to see the head of the Statue of Liberty laying in the middle of the street, and a 25-story monster running toward them, crushing everything in its wake. For a short time – and I mean short – Rob forgets about his relationship woes.
Rob and a handful of his friends manage to survive the initial attack, and thus begin a quest to escape the city, traveling through the streets and eventually into the subway tunnel where they are met by horrific mini-monsters that terrorize them badly injure their friend Marlena. After this the group manages to lock themselves in an underground room where they may actually have been safe, but what do they do? They leave almost immediately because Beth has left a message for Rob on his cell phone that she is trapped in her uptown apartment and is “scared”. So endangering his own life and the lives of what friends he has left, Rob heads back out into the city – where the monster is – to save Beth, a girl he slept with once.
Love is truly blind. And be warned – after 73 minutes of the disorientating visual effects of Cloverfield, you may be too.