Have you seen Cloverfield? HAVE you? It is insane. What’s that? You haven’t seen it? That’s okay. I’m going to recap it for you. I saw this in theatres, decided I hadn’t been punished enough, and rented it so I could see it again. I was joined by my friend Candace. A new member was also initiated into the movie review club–Candace’s husband (and my friend, too), Daniel. Welcome, Daniel.
Today’s review is brought to you by the phrase: “AHH AHH OMG WHY AM I WATCHING THIS MOVIE.”
Someone is sneaking up to a hotel room with a video camera. It zooms in on an artfully covered woman snoozing in the bed. If you’re under 18 and reading this, assume she’s clothed. Anyway, the camera man stalks up to her and wakes her up and they are giggly and soooOOOooo in love and begin discussing their plans for the day, awwww, plannnnns, so happy, and THEN–
We switch to someone else holding the camera, walking along the streets of Manattan. I guess the previous scene was footage that was already on the tape or something. The new people are getting ready for a party. You are not invited. But some guy named ROB is! Let’s pause here and run down the cast of characters. During the movie, we learn the names gradually, but… I don’t care. The girl from the beginning is Beth. With her was Rob, who has a lot in common with Captain Ahab. Rob’s brother Jason has a bad haircut and dates Lily. Their BFF is Hud, the subsequent camera man. Hud has a crush on Marlena, who is really only friends with Lily but for some reason hangs out with all of them for the entire movie anyway.
Jason and Lily buy groceries for the party and return to Rob’s apartment. Lily has asked Jason to tape the party, so he promptly hands the camera to Hud. Way to pick ’em, Lily. Every time the video camera is turned off or rewound, by the way, clips play of Beth and Rob from their Amazing Day We Saw The Beginning Of Earlier. They are interspersed throughout the movie, and I could try to remember them and give you details, or you could go rent it. Actually, don’t. Seriously. You will never sleep again. Hud has clearly never used a video camera before, nor has he ever interacted with humans, because he keeps asking people awkward questions while filming up their noses. He begins taking testimonials from people that outline their adoration for Rob, how superly awesome he is, etc. etc. Marlena arrives and Hud rushes over to her, all HEY HEY HEY MARLENA WHAT’S UP HOW’S IT GOING YES I AM PRETTY BUFF THANKS FOR NOTICING MAN YOU SMELL SO GOOD DO YOU LIKE TOAST LET’S DATE. Marlena is like, “…please leave. I will mace you.” After much creeping from Hud, she agrees to do a testimonial, even though “she only met Rob like three times and was always totally drunk.”
Rob finally arrives, and everyone is excited to see him, mostly because they’ve been waiting for him for like three hours. Rob, FYI, is leaving the next morning for Japan to be the new VP of Some Company I Forgot The Name Of; hence the party. Did I forget to mention that? Oh, me. Anyway, everyone is party-hardying when Beth walks in DUN DUN DUNNNN. I add the DUN DUN DUNNNN because Beth is followed by her date, Travis. Apparently things didn’t work out between Beth and Rob. Either that, or she is really bold. Hud manages to record some of Rob and Beth’s heated conversation about their love (or the lack thereof). We learn that Rob kind of dropped the ball and didn’t call Beth after their rendezvous; his argument is that since he was leaving for the other side of the world, he assumed she wouldn’t want to continue a relationship. Oh, Rob. So, so young. Never assume things like that. In fact, just let your girlfriend tell you what you think. Trust me; it will be easier for everyone.
Hud and Jason meet Rob later on the roof and begin the male version of consolation and helpfulness. Oh, the man-love, it is so manly, and they are on the verge of a breakthrough when a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge crash rocks the building. The guys watch as half of the city’s power goes out before they run downstairs to hear the Convenient News Network report that some boat capsized or something, which… is what… caused… the huge crash? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter, because another HUGE crash sends everyone running outside just in time to see the HEAD OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY skidding down the road. She looks pretty mad. But, as Candace pointed out, she did just apparently have her head clawed off of her body; I’d most likely be mad, too. People are standing around taking pictures with their cellphones, and Hud, who took the camera downstairs with him, zooms in on the TAIL OF A MONSTER disappearing behind a building…omg.
Another omg huge crash sends the main cast minus Marlena searching for cover in a convenience store (aptly named) across the street. They re-emerge to find Marlena sitting on the curb, wide-eyed and babblng: “Monster… eating… people… so very… scarring… not… okay…. oh… look… a quarter…” Jason suggests that getting the heck out of Manhattan might be a good idea, as monsters are not usually friendly types and this one seems particularly violent. They all trek toward the Brooklyn Bridge, along with the gazillion other people that have decided that they don’t want to be eaten today, thanks anyway. They are about halfway across the bridge when Rob’s phone rings. Multi-tasking proves to be too taxing for poor Rob, as he stops in the middle of the crowd in order to answer his phone. It’s Beth, calling to say she’s been horribly, horribly maimed or something, and Rob immediately turns back… I really can’t think of anything clever to make up as a reason that he thinks turning back would be at all a good idea. But turn back he does. Before he can get any more info from Beth, his phone dies.
Lily, Marlena, and Hud see him and turn around also, but Jason is too far ahead to see them, so he keeps going. Well, that’s okay, right? They can just meet up later OMG OMG OMG THE MONSTER IS IN THE WATER AND ITS TAIL SMASHES THROUGH THE BRIDGE AND IT HITS JASON AND LIKE A MILLION OTHER PEOPLE, NO JASON NO COME BACK, WE NEED YOU. AND WHAT WAS THE MONSTER DOING THERE ANYWAY; THE LAST TIME WE SAW IT IT WAS RUNNING AROUND EATING PEOPLE ON THE MAINLAND. MAYBE IT JUST WANTED A SWIM; I BET TERRORIZING A WELL-POPULATED AREA IS HARD WORK. The remaining cast members scurry back to Manhattan, and I’m not gonna lie to you: I spent the rest of the movie thinking, “Jason will be back any second. He’s totally fine. His neck was totally not snapped by that monster’s giant, crushing tail. Any minute, now.”
Lily is understandably freaking out–Jason was her boyfriend, after all. The boyfriend’s brother, however, is absolutely fine. He is so fine, in fact, that he runs across the street and breaks into a cell phone store to steal a new battery for his phone. Hud follows him and catches part of a newscast: “Well, Gina, what do we have in store for this weekend?” “Hmm, Jim, it seems like a thirty percent chance of rain and a one hundred and ten percent chance of slow and dismal death.” “Thanks, Gina. Back to the main desk.” Rob listens to Beth’s message, which is pretty much her crying and saying, “Rob… I’m scared,” like twenty times in row. Rob has some sort of super reading-between-the-lines power, because from this message he gleans that Beth is in her apartment, injured, and needs help RIGHT NOW.
While Rob explains his plan to rescue Beth–who lives, incidentally, in the heart of Attack Central–, Hud watches some ridiculous spider-lice thingies attack some of the National Guard. Guess where the spiders came from. THE MONSTER. LIKE, HE KINDA GIVES A LITTLE SHAKE AND THEY JUST RAIN DOWN ON THE STREETS LIKE SNOWFLAKES. HORRIFYING, MAN-EATING SNOWFLAKES.The snowflake spiders both scratch and bite you, nice, so the
as of yet undead friends escape to the subway. Robo-Rob finally shows some emotion as he calls his mom (or maybe she called him. Yeah, I think she called him. Right? Yeah. Yeah, because I remember the phone ringing) and tells her that he’s just peachy, thanks, but Jason… not so much. DON’T WORRY, ROB’S MOM, JASON WILL BE BACK ANY SECOND. ANY. SECOND.
Meanwhile, Marlena is like I should have never come to this freaking party, and Hud’s like… yeah. Rob and Lily share a Remembering Jason moment in the corner before Rob jumps up and realizes that they’re in the subway, heyyyy, the subway. The same subway they’ve been in for the last ten minutes. Way to keep up, Roberto. Anyway, he deduces that they can just take the dark and completely terrifying subway to Beth’s apartment! Hurrayyyyyy. The group is like, sure, it’s not like we could be any more screwed than we are now (that’s what you think), let’s go. They trek down the subway led only by the camera light as Hud makes jokes about the possibility of flaming homeless people jumping out at them, and then JASON ARRIVES WEARING A TOP HAT AND ONE SHOE.
Jk, jk. What actually happenes is Marlena looks down and sees a butt load of rats running past her feet (Marlena: “This is disgusting.” Really, Marlena? You were okay with the people-munching, but rats gross you out?). Here’s a heads-up, guys–if you see a bunch of rats running together, follow them . Unless there is some kind of AA meeting for rats or a cheese rally or something, they are probably RUNNING FROM DANGER. Instead, the four amigos turn around and stare into the darkness, like maybe the subway will reveal its secrets to us if we gaze upon its mysterious tunnel. Then Hud gets the idea to turn on the night vision; that should help! The audience is like NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO RUN RUN NO NO NO. As soon as Hud turns around with the night vision on, THE SNOWFLAKE SPIDER-LICE COME OUT AND START BITING AND CHOMPING AND SCRATCHING AND I AM REALLY IMPRESSED THAT HUD CAN HANG ON TO THE CAMERA THROUGHOUT ALL OF THIS. One of the spiders actually grabs Hud, and Marlena beats it off with her shoe or something, earning herself a massive bite in the shoulder. The four of them somehow defeat the spider-lice with absolutely no weapons, not even a stick, and jump back up into the next subway stop.
The damage: Rob has like one scratch; Lily’s injuries remain a mystery as she is now wearing Rob’s jacket and is effectively covered; we can’t see Hud either but since he is standing around filming everyone, it is reasonable to assume that’s he’s probably all right. Marlena, however, is bit up good–the spider-louse bit her almost completely through the shoulder, and she is bleeding pretty badly. As she tries to stop the bleeding, Rob comes over and is basically like, “Look, it sucks that you were bitten, buuut we weren’t really friends before; I’m not even sure I know your name. And I’m really into this chick Beth, so… can we keep moving or what?”
It transpires that they are in the subway station that lets out in the Bloomingdale’s store (I checked; it’s a real thing). For a moment Marlena stops and says she’s dizzy, but then says she’s fine. Since it’s a documentary style movie, there is no soundtrack, but if there were, a very ominous one would be playing right now. Anyway, they run into a makeshift first-aid/military station, where lots of maimed and gored people are moaning. They wheel one guy by who is completely missing the middle section of his body (turn up the soundtrack turn up the soundtrack) as Rob pleads with the military officers to please please let them back out into the city of death; there is some rescuing that needs to occur. The officer is like, “Son, she is DEAD. And if not, she will be soon, right? Now SIT.”
Rob continues to whine, but we don’t really care that much, because MARLENA IS BLEEDING FROM HER EYES. LIKE WHEN YOU CUT YOURSELF AND BLOOD DRIPS OUT AND THEN YOU PUT A BAND AID ON IT AND IT IS OKAY, EXCEPT IT. IS. HER. EYES. Oops, and there goes the nose, too. And the ears… um… maybe someone should help her… A nurse sees it and shouts, “WE’VE GOT A BITE!” and everyone goes into panic mode: Two guys in haz-mat gear drag her away–for real, she can’t walk, so they just drag her away–and they take her to this tent that has a fire inside it and I for real thought they were going to burn her alive but instead Hud turns the camera around just in time to see the silhouette of her STOMACH EXPAND AND THEN BLOW UP WTF OMG OMG WHY DID I SEE THIS MOVIE OMGGGGG THAT GIRL JUST EXPLODED LIKE A HUMAN GRENADE I WILL NEVER RECOVER FROM THIS.
An officer escorts Hud, Lily, and Rob back to some secret room. He is sympathetic for their quest
to find the white whale to save Beth, and tells them that the last helicopter to evacuate civilians leaves at 6:00 am (I have no idea what time it is now), and if they can get Beth before then, they’ll be good to go. But after 6, they’re going to have a nuclear throwdown over the entire island, so punctuality would serve them well. They run over to Beth’s apartment building (no sign of the monster for a while; that can’t be good) to find that it isn’t standing so much as it is leaning dangerously on the building next door. I’m sure a native New Yorker could tell me what these buildings are actually called, but I’m from Tennessee, so we’re going to call them “standing building” and “leaning building.” Hud points out that they could just go up the standing building and climb into the leaning building. Rob is like YES GREAT IDEA and Hud is like uhh… not a serious suggestion, dude, but they’re already on the way. Beth lives on the 57th floor or something (not exaggerating, it is in the the fifties), and the elevators are out, so the group climbs up fifty-something flights of stairs (poor Lily is in stilettos) and after about 48 years of my life go by, they reach the right floor.
They manage to climb across to the other building, missiles all the while flying overhead (Candace brought up a good point here: How is this monster not dead yet? They’ve been shooting crap at it for the last five hours; shouldn’t at least one shot have made contact? Is the monster made of Mighty Putty? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.) Beth’s apartment is open–she was expecting them, after all–and we see that she has become a Beth-Ka-Bab, as a giant piece of rebar is protruding from her shoulder. Ew. They pull her off the rebar (Hud thankfully puts the camera down first, although the audio is scary enough) and I guess maybe Beth is made of Might Putty, too, because she jumps up like okay, who’s ready to run for their life?
They climb back down the building and make it just in time to the helicopter, Beth doing her best to look pained. AND HOLY COW, JASON IS ON THE HELICOPTER. I KNEW IT. … Okay, he’s still not there. But I know he will be. And then Marlena will show up… and everyone else on the bridge… and we can all go home and watch Full House. There is only room for one on the first helicopter, so the officers grab Lily and stick her in there. This is the last we see of Lily, but I know she made it, the monster DIDN’T GET HER, and she is living in Hawaii with her husband and eight children on the beach. The others are on the second helicopter, and they watch as the military bombs the monster, and it is finally still, and Hud is like, “Ohhhhh, yeah, it’s dead, we win we win we win,” and all but does a victory dance.
AND THEN THE MONSTER REACHES UP, LIKE, “HAHA, SUCKERS, CAN’T DEFEAT THE PUTTY,” AND GRABS THEIR HELICOPTER OUT OF THE SKY. ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
The helipcopter spins to the ground, and the camera does not move for a whiiiiile (I think Candace and Daniel and I had like a twelve-minute conversation about how FREAKING SCARED we were). Beth manages to wake Hud and gets him to help her drag Rob out of the helicopter. Rob is conscious, but his leg is either broken or cut or something else bad. They help him to his feet and then Hud realizes he forgot the camera at the helicopter. So he goes back to get it. He goes back to get it, guys. He goes back. To get it. Beth screams, and Hud looks up just in time to see the monster staring down at him, all, “I heard you cheer for my death, jerk,” AND THEN THE MONSTER EATS HIM. I’M SERIOUS. IT JUST CHOMPS HIM UP LIKE HUD SALAD. AND THEN IT SPITS HIS TORSO BACK OUT, AND IT LANDS ON THE GROUND. Scarred. For. Life. Rob runs back for his friend, like Hud? Y-you okay, man? Got some scratches? You want–maybe some Kool-Aid or something? He is missing the lower half of his body, Rob. I’m thinking he’s not so much with the hearing you.
Beth screams for Rob, so he picks up the camera and runs to her. The bombing is supposed to begin any minute, and they’re fresh out of helicopters, so they run to hide under a bridge in Central Park. They each do a sort of goodbye for the camera, giving their names and the names of their friends (WHO I KNOW WILL SHOW UP ANY MINUTE), and telling what they know about the monster, which ain’t much. An explosion rocks the bridge and blocks the view of the camera, and then Rob and Beth profess their love for each other. Another explosion, and then… uh, well, not much, frankly. More shots of Beth and Rob from their previous Day O’ Fun are briefly seen.
BUT. DON’T GO YET. At the end of the credits ( and they are looong), you hear a voice (presumably Rob’s) whisper: “It”s still alive.”
ARE YOU SERIOUS. (Dun dun dunnnnnnn).