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Apr 21, 2008

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



Michael Stahl-David

Mike Vogel

Odette Yustman

Lizzy Caplan


Paramount Pictures Corporation

Still shot from the movie: Cloverfield.

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Reviewed by

Overall C-
Run Time85

Making the Grades

Manhattan is under attack again -- making it possibly the most assaulted borough in the country.

But before the terror unfolds, a group of friends gather in a New York City loft apartment to have drinks and wish Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) farewell. The up-and-coming executive has just accepted a vice-presidency position in Japan and is about to leave the country. With a video camera in hand, Hud Platt (T.J. Miller) hesitantly agrees to film the evening's events. Making his way around the room, he records good-byes and best wishes from Rob's brother Jason (Mike Vogel), Lily Ford (Jessica Lucas) and a host of other partygoers.

A temporary blackout followed by flying, fiery debris is the first indication the celebration is about to end. Rushing out of the building, the guests are nearly hit by the decapitated head of the Statue of Liberty that lands unceremoniously on their avenue. Thick, white clouds of smoke and rubble (reminiscent of scenes from September 11) billow down the streets as skyscrapers crumble to the ground. Somewhere in the distance, a moaning, slithering force rips through the town.

Within moments first responders are on the scene, overstepping dead bodies to gather up the severely injured. Descending upon the neighborhood with tanks and armored vehicles, the military dispatches fatigue-wearing soldiers to evacuate the area. But when Rob receives a call for help from his friend Beth (Odette Yustman), he's quick to turn back. Accompanied by Lily, Hud and another partygoer Marlena (Lizzy Caplin), Rob stumbles through subway tunnels filled with rats and past burning wreckage to the devastated district of town where Beth is pinned to the floor of her apartment.

Blood-splattered walls, gory wounds, spider-like beasts that gorge themselves on human beings and constant profanities may make parents queasy about taking their kids to this film that is told from an up-close-and-personal angle. Shooting the entire film through a handheld camera, audiences are privy to the city's destruction from primarily Hud's perspective. Yet it's those wildly swinging, stomach-churning shots that also become the film's greatest drawback, leaving many audience members yearning for a strong dose of motion sickness medicine.

While Cloverfield doesn't pretend to be anything more than a popcorn flick, the film's execution saps all the fun out of this monster script. And although the movie is thankfully short, no one should have to pay good money to feel this nauseous.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Cloverfield.

Despite the threat of impending death, looters break into an electronics store to steal equipment. Why is looting often a problem in a disaster zone? Why do people seem less inhibited about stealing in these situations?

Although Rob uses his cell phone several times during the film, the reality is that this service often goes down during disasters as the system is overloaded. You can read about real life scenarios of this problem at this ABC news site:

This movie suggests that the government has confidential films and records. What type of items might be in these files? Is there some information that should be kept from the public? Who should have access to them?

Canadian Movie Ratings

14A Frightening Scenes.
AB 14A Frightening Scenes
MB 14A Frightening Scenes.Frightening Scenes, Gory Scenes.-----
ON PG Frightening Scenes, Violence, Gory Scenes.
QC 13+

Canadian Home Video Rating: 14A

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Cloverfield...

DVD Release Date: 22 April 2008

Hold onto your video cameras because the monsters of Cloverfield are unleashing on the home video market! The DVD release comes with director Matt Reeves’ audio commentary, additional scenes and featurettes (The Making of Cloverfield, Visual Effects, Clover Fun and I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge!). As well, there are interactive menus and 11 Easter Eggs. Audio tracks are available in 5.1 Surround Dolby Digital (English, French and Spanish), with subtitled in English, French and Spanish.

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