Sympathetic ASR

Cloverfield is the most terrifying movie I have ever seen in my life.

The entire film was shot with a handheld camera, and edited as though the tape was pulled directly from the rubble. As a result, your own knowledge of the story is absolutely limited to that of the main characters, resulting in a myopic claustrophobia that forces you to exist right alongside them, in the moment.

I was unprepared for the heightened realism that this technique would convey. It was extremely disconcerting to watch firsthand footage of the fictitious destruction of Manhattan, only to know that six years ago we all experienced it for real. Cloverfield has been criticized for its echoes of 9/11, and while I haven’t decided yet if there is any true fault in this, all I can say is that it worked.

The film has also gotten some criticism for its loose cinematography, and there have been unconfirmed reports of outright nausea, but fortunately my gut found it to be no problem. I am the kind of person who considers reading in the car to be a damn good time, however, so your mileage may vary.

That said, midway through the movie I was ready to throw up, not because of vertigo, but because my body had reached its physical limit for processing terror. My palms were sweating, my heart was racing, I was shivering uncontrollably, and I feared that if I didn’t get a break soon I would completely lose it. To put it plainly, I was so scared I almost threw up.

And I would do it all again in a heartbeat, too, if they weren’t still so damn close together.