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USA 2008
produced by
J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Sherryl Clark (executive), Guy Riedel (executive) for Bad Robot/Paramount
directed by Matt Reeves
starring Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman, Anjul Nigam, Margot Farley, Theo Rossi, Brian Klugman, Kelvin Yu, Liza Lapira, Lili Mirojnick, Ben Feldman, Elena Caruso, Vakisha Coleman, Will Breenberg, Rob Kerkovich, Ryan Key, Hooman Khalili, Rasika Mathur, Baron Vaughn, Roma Torre, Rick Overton, Martin Cohen, Jason Cerbone, Pavel Lychnikoff, Billy Brown, Scott Lawrence, Jeffrey De Serrano, Tim Griffin, Chris Mulkey, Susse Budde, Jason Lombard, Jamie Martz
written by Drew Goddard, animatronic effects by Creative Character Engineering, creature animation by Tippett Studio, visual effects by Hammerhead Productions, Double Negative

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It all starts rather innocently at a going-away party for Rob (Michael Stahl-David), where Hud (T.J.Miller) is doing on-cam interviews with everybody. Then tghe building starts shaking though and before you know it, the head of the Statue of Liberty is literally landing in front of the party guests feet. Then something fells the Empire State Building, and by now everybody at the party knows they have to leave, leave not only the party but also Manhattan ... but their escape to Brooklyn is cut short by some giant tentacles wrecking the bridge - and killing Rob's brother Jason (Mike Vogel) in the process. Rob is now understandably heartbroken, even more so because he sent his girlfriend Beth (Odette Yustman) home from the party, and he knows she now needs saving. So to make up for the death of his brother, he heads through half the town to save her life, and he takes his sister-in-law Lili (Jessica Lucas), Hud - who's still filming - and Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), the girl Hud is secretly in love with, with him.

Of course, this chase through half Manhattan is marred by danger, especially since the creature who is attacking the city - something vaguely reminiscent of a giant dinosaur (we never learn what it really is) - is also losing a gazillion of small creatures onto the city, small creatures that even follow our heroes through the subway tunnle they are trying to avoid the big thing in - and this small creatures eventually injure and kill Marlena. The rest of the group make it to Beth's appartment after a run-in with the army, and manage to save gravely injured Beth from her place - in a high rise building literally leaning against the neighbouring skyscraper - and rendez-vous with some army helicopters to evacuate them. Lili is taken away savely (presumably), but the helicopter with the other three is picked out of the air by the creature. Rob, Beth and Hud all survive, but soon enough, Hud, who is still filming, is simply swallowed and shat out by the creature, which leaves him rather dead. The other two have just enough time to say good-bye to the world on cam before they two die at the creatures claws ...


You might describe this film as Godzilla meets Blair Witch Project, inasmuch as it's a monster movie, but entirely told out of the first-person perspective of one guy's camera - not the most original gimmick anymore in the late 2000's, but still not too annoying yet. The POV-camera approach to the giant monster movie genre is of course both a blessing and a curse: A blessing because the CGI-effects used in Cloverfield (just like in so many other monster movies) are not always up to the film's demands, but thanks to a shaky camera and camera pans motivated by the protagonist rather than the action, much of this can be obscured without becoming an embarrassing ploy to obscure the film's shortcomings. The whole thing is also a curse though because this way, more emphasis has to be put on the film's lead characters ... and they are pretty bland, and most of the time seem to be just like walking clichés - when they are even given traits of their own that is.

Still, the film's relatively short running time (roughly 70 minutes without the credits) and its total lack of melodramatic music coupled with some nice ideas (the scene where Lady Liberty's head is just hurled in front of our heroes' feet is simply great) make this one totally watchable after all. Most certainly not the cult film many want to make you believe it is, but watchable still.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD