Monsters come in many forms
1h 44min | Drama, Horror, Mystery, Sci.Fi, Thriller
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
John Gallagher Jr.
After a car crash, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is brought to a mysterious bunker by a man named Howard (John Goodman). She has been given the information that there has been an alien attack and the air is now toxic outside. However, Howard's intentions soon become questionable and Michelle is faced with a question. Is it better in here or out there?
Lets first of all clarify the whole Cloverfield name thing, because there has been a lot of discussion about that and it's one of the reasons why I watched this movie. The film is not a sequel or prequel or in any way connected with the original Cloverfield (2008), but this is how J.J Abrams explains it: “A spiritual successor”… “a blood relative”… "The spirit of it, the genre of it, the heart of it, the fear factor, the comedy factor, the weirdness factor, there were so many elements that felt like the DNA of this story were of the same place that Cloverfield was born out of…". uh, okeeeey, how come then that the film itself is completely different both in style and tone? The only resemblance I could find was the monsters (and not even the same monsters!). This is what I think, after working with the Star Wars films J.J. Abrams probably got the idea of wanting his own franchise. So knowing that he had a big Cloverfield fan base he knew he had something to start from. So what do you do, you find a script that that has some kind of monster/alien invasion and name it “something Cloverfield”. Voilà, now you can make another film that connects these 2 films. On top of that you make sure that this film is made in total secrecy under codename Valencia, you make a teaser with no story information and you release it just 2 month before its theatrical realise. That my ladies and gentlemen is Hollywood PR, sadly they have become masters of PR rather than moviemaking. PR-tricks 4 the win!
Probably this wouldn’t bother me so much if the film was actually good.
Okey I really think I made it clear that this movie is different from its handheld shaky found footage “blood relative”, but what is it then. That's where this film in my opinion struggles. It starts of as a horror movie. Spooky mysterious soundtrack, montage showing personal belongings of the main character (Michelle). Cuts to a very nice wide aerial shot showing her driving through the landscape, a scene that makes it impossible not to think of the opening shots from the shining (1980). That’s all fine and dandy but now I’am excepting a horror movie but 20min in it all changes.
The rest of the film is a psychological thriller that takes place in a confined space with three characters. So what about the characters?
We basically know shit about the main character Michelle, all we know is what we see in the first 5min of the montage: 1. She just left her husband, 2. She is some kind of fashion designer 3. She likes whiskey. All things which are pretty important for the plot but nothing that lets me feel or somehow connect with the character. We don't really learn anything more about her either.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes a good effort in portraying her character and there is nothing wrong with her performance but never the less IT’S A BORING CHARACTER AND I DON’T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO HER, SHE COULD DIE AND I WOULD NOT CARE LESS… I could accept this kind of character in a horror or action movie where a lot of scary shit and action is going on all the time but in a thriller, not really.
But on the other side we have Howard, the antagonist played by John Goodman. He is brilliant! Howard is what keeps this film alive. Howard is the one setting the tone of the film and the core of what makes this film interesting. This is where this film really shines. It manages to put you in the same spot as Michelle, its like a pendulum between knowing whats going on just so it can 5min later swing you back into uncertainty.
I'am not going to spoil the film so I will not talk so much about the third act. Shit goes crazy and thats all I have to say. Even people who praised this film (almost every one) hated the last part.
Technically its a well made film, solid and clear three act structure, hollywood mainstream horror soundtrack and cinematography. Generic.
Technically it works! But did it make me feel something, did it teach me anything, did it surprise me in any way, did it somehow justify its 1h 44m?... No, its just tried to fool me again that something more important will happen in the next film. #hollywoodsyndrome