Something incredible has happened. Something generation defining. The kind of thing your children ask you where you were when. A film has been released that every body either loves or hates, the celluloid equivalent of marmite, and here I am with a general feeling of 'Meh'. This doesn't happen. I either feel so passionately for something that I'm willing to have its multiple offspring or I deride it so much that I open up dark corners of my mind and get a little scared.
So why has Cloverfield had this impact on me? Simply because its ... alright.
After a contradictory hype campaign in which the audience is told it'll be told nothing, we've instead been told everything we need to know in the first teaser trailer. There's this bloke, who we'll call 'bloke' who is leaving town. His friend, who we'll call 'bloke 2', is filming his going away party. Then a big monster comes to town and ruins the party. 'Bloke' then decides to run across town and tell 'Ex' that he loves her. The film itself (not including credits) lasts less than 80 minutes which is a clear indication that they have an 'idea' for a movie and thats all.
The one camera POV technique, while Anti-Nurofen, is effective in places. The subway tunnel attack is genuinely scary but, and this is a crucial, the film is never really suspenseful. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, because its all 'ATTACK, ATTACK, RUN, RUN' it quickly becomes as monotonous as a slasher pic. Secondly, the characters are just fodder. Some are bland, but in the case of 'Bloke 2' some are genuinely unlikeable. What kind of a guy videotapes his best mate grieving over the loss of his brother seconds after the event? Put the camera down and give him a hug for godsakes.
The 11/9 references seem a little close to the bone considering this is, at heart, a piece of Entertainment. The billowing dustclouds do have an effect on you but for completely the wrong reasons. You start to think that the director will do anything to get a reaction, any reaction.
All in all its nice to see something a little different even if it doesn't quite work. But for those 'film lovers' championing this as a true piece of originality when the superior The Host and The Blair Witch Project are still fresh in the mind, you should feel a little ashamed.