Undoubtedly you’ve heard the hype about Cloverfield (don’t believe it) but did you know there’s also a knock-off movie called Monster. It’s by Asylum films, the same people who brought you unforgettable classics like Snakes on a Train & Transmorphers.
Both movies are remarkably similar (i.e. they’re both bad). Both star a group of young people who just can’t put down the freaking camera no matter how many monsters are chasing them. Many have compared Cloverfield to the Blair Witch Project but the difference is in that movie the characters set out to make a documentary about the Blair Witch. Cloverfield on the other hand is filmed by some schlub named Hud who takes the documenting of his friend’s going away party way too seriously. When the monster attacks, party’s over.
In order to enjoy this movie you’ll have to suspend your disbelief from start to finish. Even as Hud is running for life he’s got the camera pushed up against his face like he’s some sorta war journalist. At least in the movie “Monster” the stars are actually semi-professional filmmakers who just happen to be doing a documentary in there area. And while one of the characters is eager to to film this literally earth shattering event, the other vehemently tries to convince her sister to focus on escape rather than trying to break the next scoop at the cost of their lives.
Then there’s the infamous miracle cam(s) which not only record in hi-def movie quality but are impervious to focusing problems, dirty lens, or breakage. You know what would’ve made this film, a single moment of levity such as the inexperienced Hud (remember it’s not his camera) accidentally hitting the star wipe transition button while filming the monster. But alas JJ Abrams is no Mark Putnam and there is no such scene. It amazes me that the low budget knock-off is the more realistic of the two film. At least in Monster they try to make it believable by adding a healthy amount of distortion effects, albeit clearly fake. Meanwhile the Cloverfield camera drops 30 stories onto the ground and not only does it not break it lands in the perfect place to shoot the scene.
The most annoying thing about these movies is that the FEW times the monsters even appear our view is almost always obstructed by buildings. The ONLY exception is a single short scene in each movie. A monster movie without a monster is a very bad idea indeed! And the whole camera gimmick just feels forced, let’s just hope if there’s a sequel they hire me to direct.