Cloverfield | Chicago Reader

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Produced by J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost), this hair-raising horror movie borrows the video verite gimmick from The Blair Witch Project to follow a handful of hipsters as they try to survive a gigantic sea creature that's destroying Manhattan. An opening color-test pattern identifies what we're watching as a camcorder tape retrieved from the “area formerly known as Central Park,” and the chaotic images that follow are terrifying precisely because they're limited to one character's point of view. (They also reference video from 9/11 more explicitly than any fictional movie to date.) The narrative conceit requires a fair amount of indulgence as the story progresses, but the fleeting, incomplete glimpses of the monster early on prove the old dictum of B movie auteur Val Lewton that a momentary image can have greater impact than a prolonged one. Matt Reeves directed. PG-13, 85 min.
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