A group of scientists on a space station accidentally tear a hole in
space-time with a particle accelerator, plunging everything into chaos.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Directed by Julius Onah
Written by Oren Uziel
Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl,
John Ortiz, Chris O'Dowd, Elizabeth Debicki, Roger Davies,
Ziyi Zhang, Aksel Hennie, Clover Nee
Prequel to 2008's Cloverfield
The Cloverfield franchise is a film series that prides itself more on its gimmicks than the quality of its films. While 2016's 10 Cloverfield Lane was a rare gem, the first film has become a cult hit not because it's good, but because of the endless tirade of fan theories that continue to swarm around these films. With the first one using early viral marketing, the second one using a surprise trailer, and now this third installment dropping on Netflix the same day as its brand-new trailer, I think it's safe to say nobody on the executive side of things really cares if these films are good, so long as people care about the mystery of them.
The Cloverfield Paradox has all the makings of an interesting horror/sci-fi flick, from its impressive cast to its unique premise. However, everything that holds this film back is the requirement to tie back to the first film, explaining where the monster came from. It's strange how interdimensional travel is now the explanation, considering aliens were the big reveal in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Who knows anymore? And for that matter, does anybody really care? This film was a huge gamble that seems to have barely paid off, if the critical and fan response is to believed. Granted, I didn't hate it, and I think critics are being a tad harsh. But it could've been much better than what it ended up being, which was fairly by-the-numbers. My biggest issue is how little it actually explains about the Cloverfield situation. We know just as little by the film's end as we knew at the end of the first one. If you're going to market a series of film with the Cloverfield name under the guise of fan appeal, the least you could do is offer some long-awaited explanation for said fans.
I think it's time to end the concept of the "viral film." Any franchise built on a gimmick is bound to eventually fail once people stop freaking out about it. With the overwhelming negative response towards The Cloverfield Paradox, it's safe to say people are no longer that jazzed about whatever this franchise is trying to be. At this point, I'm expecting the inevitable Cloverfield 4 to just appear on my Blu-Ray shelf instantaneously. Because that's all that matters in this franchise. Not plot, not characters, not story development. All that matters is when and where the next movie will pop up, and that's just sad.