I finally got around to watching Cloverfield. What a great movie!

It has a number of typical B-movie features (the schlock subject matter, the use of unknown actors and actresses, the short running time), but I think what sets it apart from other attempts at producing a modern day B-movie is the understanding that the best B-movies tap into the political and social climate in which they are made. Memorable B-movies such as Invaders from Mars and Invasion of the Body Snatchers owe much of their potency to the spirit of McCarthyism. Even Godzilla, with his “atomic ray”, is a reminder of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There are plenty of recent movies, like Eight Legged Freaks and Slither, that are deliberate attempts to produce a modern day B-movie. Sadly, most of these movies are quite shallow (though fun), as there is nothing of merit beyond the few cheap thrills that they offer. Cloverfield is a bit more thought-provoking because it’s so obviously a reimagining of the horror of 9/11, and not just the terrorist attack and the devastation it caused, but also the way in which the events of 9/11 are fed into the public consciousness via countless shocking images and hours of grainy, shaky camera footage.

I know that this is not particularly original commentary now, but I think it’s worth giving the movie all the praise it’s due. I wish that more producers and directors had the intelligence to create monster movies this terrifying. Who knows, we might have been spared Peter Jackson’s awful remake of King Kong.


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