I love a good monster flick. Rarely, a good combination of action, thrills, concept, special and sound effects and a reasonable storyline comes along and blows me away. I saw Cloverfield last night after following the hype on the Blogosphere about it. It did exceed my expectations, because a) I went in with low expectations based on my experiences with other similar films that have come out in recent years and b) I actually avoided a lot of the hype and speculation surrounding the film during its ramp-up to release.
It's quite a good film. The special effects were very good. The monster was obviously CG, but the carnage it created (and jeez there was some carnage!) appeared seamless next to the live action stuff, somewhat reminiscent of the way you saw the alien tripods interacting with the "real world" in Speilberg's "War of the Worlds". There were some visual references to scenes we saw in new York during the 9/11 crisis, but they weren't overplayed and added to the realism. The sound effects were fantastic (no music soundtrack, didn't need it). The handicam perspective throughout the film was a good effect, it essentially put you right there where it was all happening and did work in that regard. it made the film more of an experience. It didn't make me feel dizzy or nauseous, and that's after eating a big burger!
There were some elements that I questioned or laughed at but the film gave you enough info overall to help you suspend disbelief. You never really find out where the protagonist originated from (someone says you see a satellite falling out of the sky at one point but I missed that), and the closure of the film is, well, questionable. The creature also takes a fair beating but no real sign of damage to it throughout the film (but that's okay, maybe it's just tough!) But seeing as though you're experiencing the devastation and the ordeal through ordinary folks who themselves are going through it, you don't really need all the answers and it's a bit of fun to speculate anyway. Heck, even with scifi or monster movies that DO give you a ton of background info, the fans still leave the theaters speculating!
In all, a fun, thrilling 80 minute film that lets you escape for a little while!