There’s a link (though sometimes a very tenuous one) between crime fiction and sci-fi. Although I’ve a strong preference for crime, I do have a soft spot for movies featuring alien creatures invading our everyday existence. Cloverfield is a good recent example of the genre, although in one respect I felt the building of suspense missed a trick. Even so, the movie is filmed in very contemporary style, albeit with a head-spinning surfeit of shaky camera work.
The idea is that a young man, Rob, is about to depart Manhattan for a new job in Japan. His brother arranges for their friend Hud to film a video memento of the party that they throw for him. The point of view throughout is that of the video maker (and the film opens with the message that this is a film recovered from ‘the area formerly known as Central Park’.) Things go awry when news comes of strange goings-on elsewhere in New York City. Before long, the party-goers are running for their lives.
It turns out that aliens have landed (their arrival is shown in the final shot of the film – part of the ‘home movie’ work.) The principal invader is a menacing Godzilla-like creature, and I felt that the movie-makers missed a trick here. Suspense would have built even more strongly had the nature of the creature been hinted at for longer, rather than being revealed so quickly. He is accompanied by various spidery parasites whose bite is fatal. Suffice to say, it does not do to become too attached to characters in Cloverfield. Rob and three others battle for survival against the odds – but bad stuff keeps happening, and the film ends in uncertain and unsettling fashion.
I enjoyed this film, although shorn of its gimmicks, for the most part it follows a well-worn path. It would amaze me if we don’t see Cloverfield 2 in due course.