A successful movie experiment that should spark a genre.

Cloverfield is to monster movies what Blair Witch Project is to horror movies. But while the latter was a gimmicky low-budget fiasco (forget Box Office, it is no measure of quality), Cloverfield is a polished piece of film-making.

Shot entirely from the POV of a hand-held digicam initially being used to make a home-video, the movie takes us through the disaster that NY faces through the experiences of a small group of youths. So while the camera focuses on the bunch of three-four friends, the backdrop shows us what we would have seen in full-focus in a Godzilla or Independence Day – Buildings collapsing, destruction all-around, the monster in attack-mode, the army retaliating, etc.

What really impressed me was the way this movie uses most of its budget (physical/visual effects) only for the background. The production has done a wonderful job in recreating an extraordinary event as it would look, and have a few regular people to react to it. Soon after the first disruption, immediate thoughts go to survivors of 9/11 and their experience to the actuality of the disaster.

Mixed reactions to the movie are mostly because hand-held video for the entirety of the movie can induce motion-sickness though. There were a few walk-outs mid-way, and I know of people running to the toilets due to the shaking effect throughout. As long as you are prepared for and have the stomach for it, be ready for a movie experiment that actually works as an experience.

p.s.: As a kid, J. J. Abrams loved Escape From New York. But he felt cheated that the image of the Statue of Liberty’s head lying in the street on the movie’s poster wasn’t actually in the film. So he made sure he saw that image in his own film.

Rating: ★★★½☆

About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.