If you've read my reviews of 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox, then you'll know I've talked a lot of shit about the original Cloverfield. Granted, at the time, I'd only seen the movie once, in 2008 when I saw it at the movies. I hadn't seen a found footage film, and it was very distracting. Years later, now an adult with more than a dozen found footage flicks under my belt, I revisited Cloverfield and found it to be a brilliant depiction of how New Yorkers would handle a real-life monster attack. It took me twelve years and change, but I finally understand why the hype surround this film was so big and why people form fan theories around this viral-marketing wonder.
In this film, we follow a group of friends who are at a party when the monster arrives and starts leveling Manhattan. Desperate for answers and terrified, Rob (Stahl-David), Lily (Lucas), Marlena (Caplan), Jason (Vogel), and dedicated cameraman Hud (Miller) embark on a journey to escape the city. But Rob's girlfriend Beth (Annable) is trapped in her building, so they have to save her first. During this, a hundred-foot crab-like monster is destroying the city, and much like the shark in Jaws, Matt Reeves only shows the monster in small amounts. It's not the focus of the film, and that constantly makes you wonder what it is and where it came from. Three movies in and we kind of still don't know, but back then this was a standalone creature feature that showed the human reaction to Godzilla style citywide destruction.
Cloverfield combined the realism of Blair Witch with the scale of a Kaiju movie, effectively making a forever cult hit that people will be debating about for decades. Did it come from space? Did it come from the ocean? Is it from another dimension? We'll never know, because the mystery is what keeps this film and its follow-ups on our radar. I sorely misjudged this film and I apologize. That's the beauty of the rewatch.