[NOTE: This review may contain spoilers. If this bothers you... then don't read it!]
First and foremost I will address this upfront. This is a movie that doesn't use a steady cam. The camera shakes often, it is sometimes blurry, the footage is off center, and the camera will move around rapidly. Fortunately, those of us who remember the Blair Witch Project (or will admit to having seen it at least) will be glad to know they don't shake it to the point of nausea and that they do keep it relatively stable at times. With that out of the way let's get down to business.
Cloverfield starts of at a slow pace. It gives you about 15 minutes of story development that helps build your relationship with these characters. I appreciated this because I felt invested in what happens to these people during this catastrophe, not just an outside observer. There were actually several moments when I did feel like I was experiencing the alien attack first hand which is greatly aided by the hand held camera perspective of the movie.
The action picks up very quickly once the initial attack takes place in which we all get to think to ourselves "oh boy, here it comes." And yes it does come. Explosions, running, screaming ("Is it another terrorist attack?"), and the severed head of the Statue of Liberty. We only get brief glimpses of the creature attacking New York for the first half of the movie and once we start seeing the creature in whole we learn that it's a giant monster that has smaller creatures fall from it's body. Let's just say that these smaller monster have a nasty bite that has explosive reprocustions.
I don't want to give away too much of the story away but I will say that the majority of the movie revolves around Rob, his brother Jason, Jason's girlfriend Lily, Hud (our cameraman), Hud's crush Marlena, and Beth, the woman Rob loves. Rob and his friends are basically on their way out of New York when Rob learns Beth needs his help and he enlists his friends to help. They race around the now under attack New York City in hopes of finding her and saving her.
Cloverfield is something that you have to experience because honestly speaking, this is a movie that will be talked about a lot. There are several moments in the movie that will shock you, make your heart race, and will make you wonder if you could handle it if this really happened to you. This movie has all the key elements: horror, action, humor, and love. It was very enjoyable and feels a lot faster then it's 90 minute running. Just keep in mind that a lot of the best parts happen very quickly so keep your eyes glued to the screen.
Because most of this movie's best moments happen in the blink of an eye, I will point out two things. One, during the last minutes of the film you will see a view of Coney Island. Keep an eye on the right horizon for something falling into the ocean. Two, after the credits you will get a brief audio message that is very staticy and hard to understand. The message seems to be "It's still alive".