Sometimes you have to wonder if big money loaded blockbusters are as great as they used to be next to the limited budget films that emerged over the past decade. Greedy Hollywood producers seem more interested in blood stained cash cow travesties than high quality films like, let’s say…Cloverfield.
Done in the style of found footage, the story follows a small group of friends trying to survive an attack from a big monster which has invaded New York and is hell bent on causing as much havoc as possible, don’t they always? The fact that the whole thing is shown through a large, (hand held?), camera gives the story a realistic feel. Not that there is anything realistic about a huge monster tearing through New York, for the sake it. There are some real scary moment scattered her and there, such as when our heroes walk down a subway tunnel (don’t try it) and are ambushed by a group of creatures.
Drawing its effects from a considerable budget, the film does have some fine use of CGI even if the monster doesn’t look the best. While the creature may not be the greatest of all monsters it stands up well against some of the things that have reared their ugly heads to take a bite out of New York. You have to ask yourself, why is it always New York these big ass monsters go for? What is the rest of the world just not good enough anymore? Between the monster and the statue of Liberty’s head being thrown around the effects kind of speak for themselves about how good they are.
Under the circumstances I’d say that the characters all acted in a believable manner thanks to the actors who were selected. Rob, the protagonist, is played suitable well by Michael Stahl David, who is probably the best of the whole cast. Hud, our cameraman, will be loved and loathed for his shaky, vomit inducing camera work which left many a viewer sick to the teeth. Merlena is one of those characters who due to Lizzy Caplan’s sad (in a good way) performance may leave one feeling she was underused to some extent. Odette Yustman, doesn’t do a hell of a lot as Rob’s girlfriend Beth, she really just cries a lot. As for Lily, played by Jessica Lucas, she’s alright. At least she does more than Beth.
Matt Reeves is commendable for taking such an old story and putting a new spin on it to remarkable effect. The monster is respectable and the actors all do their best to give the survivors a sense of genuine fear and desperation in the city that has had more gigantic monsters than anywhere else.