Monday, April 21, 2008

Cloverfield DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Hair-Raising Horror Flick Arrives on DVD

Reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project, this cleverly-conceived screamfest was shot entirely with a shaky hand-held camera operated by one of the film’s central characters. A similarly limited-perspective proved compelling in Blair, which had been billed as based on a videotape supposedly found at the site of a slaughter.
Cloverfield opens with a cryptic statement that the top-secret tape you are about to watch is the property of the Department of the Defense. However, the initial half-hour looks more like a soap opera than a spine-tingling thriller. The fun starts in Jason Hawkins’ (Mike Vogel) spacious New York apartment with a bird’s eye view of the city’s skyline. With the help of his girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas) Jason is greeting guests arriving for the surprise going away party he’s throwing for his brother, Rob (Michael Stahl-David) who’ll soon be moving to Japan.
Jason directs their buddy, Hud (T.J. Miller), to film the festivities, and to record individual farewells as a keepsake. Then, just when you’ve forgotten that this is supposed to be a horror movie, the building shakes and the power goes out. The partygoers rush to the window to witness chaos and devastation unfolding as far as the eyes, or should I say camcorder, can see: from flattened cars to flying projectiles to crumbling skyscrapers to fleeing pedestrians unleashing bloodcurdling screams while looking over their shoulders.
At this juncture, the movie morphs into a harrowing tale of survival featuring seasick cinematography, and it becomes pretty clear that some destructive unseen force has been released and is about to cause major mayhem all around Manhattan. And the only record of the desperate struggle which ensues is a chilling videotape, a spellbinding masterpiece also known as Cloverfield.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
Running time: 84 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Video
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, alternative endings, outtakes, director’s commentary, “The Making of Cloverfield” and other featurettes.

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