Re-review of Cloverfield (2008)

CloverfieldReleased: January 18, 2008. Director: Matt Reeves. Stars: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller. Runtime: 85 min.

Dave over at Dave Examines Movies asked me some time ago to re-watch “Cloverfield.” He asked me to watch the movie in a different light; as he thought my score of 66 was a bit too low. I watched this on July 10th, I believe, when I was getting excited for “Pacific Rim.” I wanted to get a bit more excited for it, so I thought it was the best time to re-watch this, one of the only monster movies I own. I watched it with an open mind,

The film revolves around a monster attack in New York as told from the point of view of a small group of people.

It’s impressive to think that J.J. Abrams kept this project for what it truly was secret for so long (many thought it was another Godzilla movie), especially in a society where even J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym isn’t safe. It’s also an impressive directorial debut from Matt Reeves (“Let Me In” is a really good flick, too) and features some good writing from Drew Goddard. It’s rarely boring, and the movie doesn’t last too long — so that’s pretty good if the viewer isn’t liking it so much. I’m usually not a big fan of found footage movies, as I think a found footage flick gem comes around only so often (“Chronicle” is my favourite of the bunch), but the insane camerawork of this film captures the true chaos of this situation. They’re like real people, and this is a seriously terrifying situation, even if there aren’t many big scares. The tiny cast carries the film well.

This is a fun monster movie with a cool, you know, monster; even if I’m not sure I’ll re-visit it again after watching it twice. The ending is a bit too abrupt for my tastes, as well. Maybe I’ll have to check out some of those Godzilla movies soon, before that remake comes out next year. Admittedly, this does seem like a movie that gets better with each viewing, and it helps that I was in the mood for a monster flick.

Score75/100

Here’s my original review of “Cloverfield.”

Let Me In – Quite the remake of a great Swedish film.

Let Me In

Release Date: October 1, 2010

Director: Matt Reeves

Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins

Runtime: 116 min

Tagline: Innocence dies. Abby doesn’t.

 Let Me In is a remake of the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One In, and is based on the Swedish novel, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a lonely twelve-year old boy, with a wicked sense of voyeurism, and has been constantly bullied at school. When a mysterious girl, Abby (Chloë Moretz), and her father (Richard Jenkins) move in next door to him, he hopes he has the chance to find a companion in her. Abby’s no ordinary girl, though; the cold doesn’t seem to phase her, and she even walks around in the snow in her bare feet. Also, coinciding with the sudden appearance of this young and mysterious supposed twelve-year old girl, are a string of mysterious murders that are believed to be a cult thing, where the victim’s blood is drained and taken. Owen may find courage he’s been looking for in this small, but ever-so strong, girl. All the while, a police investigator (Elias Koteas) is getting close on the case, but what he doesn’t know is that he’s actually hunting a savage young vampire.

This remake is a worthy substitute for a great foreign horror film. While it does seem to lack some of the emotional appeal as the original, it is fairly well done – and the wintery Sweden location is well relocated to a winter in New Mexico.

Rather than the original, it seems like it tried much harder to be a horror film, rather than a more emotional ride with many horrific elements.

Chloë Grace Moretz really does deliver a great performance, especially for such a young actress. I did prefer it [her performance] rather than that of the young girl from the original film. The film lacks the same great atmospheric style as the original, unfortunately. It isn’t nearly as well directed, but a comparison between Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) and Tomas Alfredson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) isn’t exactly fair. This remake does jump into the story much quicker than the original though, and I liked it for that.

Comparisons aside: Standing alone, it offers a fairly good experience that is one of my favourite vampire flicks. The cast does a great job and the film can be quite twisted and some of the themes are pretty interesting.

Both Owen and Abby are monsters on their own terms, but Owen is too weak to stand up for himself – and must learn lessons from Abby.

The climactic scene is pretty good, but not amazing. The atmosphere is pretty stylish, and can offer a unique experience for those of you [strictly] mainstreamers. It is a film worth checking out.

This film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz as the real show stealer Abby, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas as the Policeman (and as the voice of Owen’s Father) and the voice and some body of (I say that because the woman’s face is actually never shown) of Cara Buono as Owen’s Mother.

Let Me In is a worthy substitution of a great Swedish film. It lacks the same great atmosphere and emotional appeal as the original, and goes more for the scares, but is an interesting and well-paced film that offers a good and memorable experience.  

75/100

– Daniel Prinn

30 Days of Night – A decent vampire horror flick. (Short review)

30 Days of Night

Release Date: October 19, 2007

Director: David Slade

Stars: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston

Runtime: 113 min

Tagline: They’re coming!

The vampire horror genre has seen greats, like Dracula, Fright Night, the Swedish Let the Right One in (and its American remake Let Me In), and the teen romance adaptation Twilight (just kidding about that one), to name a few. This isn’t exactly one of them, but it’s still pretty good.

For a small Alaskan town, it is the time of the year where a big fraction of its population goes on vacation because they don’t want to endure the thirty days of darkness. When a mysterious stranger wanders into town and stars to vandalize the small town, he brings along a warning of some sort of a larger danger is coming. That danger is a gang of bloodthirsty vampires.

It has enough scares to make it enjoyable enough for a horror lover, but I don’t think it brought anything special to cinema or the horror genre, well except a vampire language.  It’s good enough for a watch, but for those who really don’t like vampire flicks, don’t need to necessarily check it out.

I didn’t really care for the ending, but it was pretty well-paced, and good enough horror entertainment to get you through the south of two-hour runtime.

It stars Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston as the vampire gang leader, Ben Foster (he really stole the scenes he was in), Mark Boone Junior and Mark Rendall.

The plot was a little average, it’s decent enough but it isn’t a must-see or anything for non-horror fans.

63/100

Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) – A film review by Daniel Prinn — A great film from Sweden.

Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In)

Release Date: October 24, 2008

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

Runtime: 115 min

Tagline: Eli is 12 years old. She’s been 12 for over 200 years and, she just moved in next door.

 

[Mr. Christie, you make good cookies] Sweden, you make great films.

Oskar is a troubled and lonely twelve-year old boy who is bullied constantly at school, and is yet to fight back. When a mysterious young girl, Eli, moves in next door to him in his apartment block – he hopes he has found a companion to confide in. Also, coinciding with the girl moving in next door, a series of murders come to the surface; with the victims being hanged upside down and being drained of their blood. Once Oskar discovers that Eli is really a “young” vampire, he finds love and revenge in her – and their young love both blossoms and dwindles, and must try to overcome the fact of how different they may seem to be on the outside; all set on the beautiful landscape of a cold 1982 winter in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden.

One thing about this film that can be greatly appreciated (or loved) is that it’s so much more than just your average vampire film, it is also a great and tender display of adolescent love.

This [film] was my first foreign film experience and I really enjoyed it. It’s a very impressive Swedish film about a young boy who has been bullied and misunderstood all of his life, all the while his parents are going through a divorce. It well blends the genres of drama, horror, and romance in a great and stylish way. There isn’t a whole lot of horror but the elements that are there are very great and often spooky and extremely eerie. I just really appreciated the profound effect it has for a vampire film. Let the Right One In is also very compelling and never let go of my attention. I really appreciate it because it is as beautiful as it is horrifying and thrilling. It all seems like a wonderful adaptation from a book of the same name.

For those of you who don’t want to watch a vampire flick in Swedish; Hollywood remade it and renamed it Let Me In, and it’s actually a pretty great substitution – with a performance from Chloë Grace Moretz that I prefer more than this girl’s performance (maybe familiarity plays a part in that statement) ; but the actress of this film does really perform well, as does the actor who portrays Oskar.

The film contains one of the finest wimp vs. bully moments in cinema, which is near on the great caliber as Straw Dogs.

The film stars Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar,  Lina Leandersson as the “young” Eli, and Per Ragnar as Håkan, a man who wants to find and kill Eli to avenge the deaths of some friends.

It’s a film that is worth checking out, but some of it is rather disturbing and often gory (it’s to be expected as it deals with vampires), and it is definitely not the feel-good film of 2008 (it is both depressing during certain scenes and also occasionally [sort of] brought me a happy feeling in others). Let the Right One In is a film that is parts compelling, horrifying, fascinating, beautiful and entertaining; and is about as must-see as vampire films go. It is my favourite vampire film, as it is both nearly flawless (some of it’s not perfectly paced) and great – and the only vampire flick I’ve seen that comes even close to being this great is its American remake. It’s a dark and entertaining experience, that is a very memorable story, as it is a uniquely terrifying coming-of-age tale.

95/100