In the spring of 2007, an eerie poster of a headless Statue of Liberty fueled rampant speculation about J.J. Abrams’ (creator and exec-producer of ABC’s Alias and Lost) new horror project. Questionable promotional tactics and constant Internet gossip seemed to have sparked a burning curiosity in the minds of thousands of devoted movie fans. Expectations for the film were so immense that, in retrospect, I should have realized would be nearly impossible to meet. Maybe those expectations warped my opinion a bit, but if you ask me, Cloverfield was one of the biggest cinematic letdowns in years.
“I just wish it had a plot!,” I heard someone say as I left the theater. Well, the plot is there, kind of, but not enough to revive the movie from its ultimate face plant into the ground. The film starts by introducing star-crossed lovers Rob and Beth. Rob is leaving for Japan, and best friend Hud tapes goodbyes from friends and family at his going-away party. The entire film is seen through this lens, Blair Witch style, and tests your patience in the area of visual disorientation. The shaky camera watches a vicious monster attack the city in an unexplained attempt to destroy all of Manhattan.
The ending was not much of an ending at all, leaving way too many unfinished plot points; there are already rumors of a sequel to tie things up.
So would I see the sequel? Probably not. The first one didn’t make such a great impression on me. It was a good try, but not quite good enough. You let me down, J.J.!