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"CLOVERFIELD"
(2008) (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Heavy Heavy *Extreme Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Moderate None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Horror: Various people try to survive when a gargantuan monster suddenly attacks Manhattan.
PLOT:
It was supposed to be a nice, going away surprise party for Rob Hawkins (MICHAEL STAHL-DAVID) who's moving from Manhattan to Japan. Thrown by his brother, Jason (MIKE VOGEL), and their friend, Lily Ford (JESSICA LUCAS), it starts out as a well-attended soirée where Jason hands a video camera to his friend, Hud (T.J. MILLER), and asks him to record the event as well as personal messages for Rob. Of course, since Hud is interested in Marlena Diamond (LIZZY CAPLAN), he gets a lot of footage of her, but also that of Beth McIntyre (ODETTE YUSTMAN), Rob's former lover who's arrived with another guy.

As the event unfolds and more alcohol is consumed, a thunderous explosion shakes the building. Panicked, some of the group goes to the roof to investigate, and that's when another massive explosion rocks the city, sending debris crashing into other nearby buildings. When the partygoers make it down to the street, the head of the Statue of the Liberty landing near them and the collapse of the Empire State Building in the distance signals that this isn't an earthquake as the news earlier reported.

Instead, it's a gargantuan monster wreaking havoc on the city. With the military arriving to do battle with it, the group tries to evacuate the island. When their route is cut off, however, they must figure out how to survive, all while avoiding the monster as well as huge, spider-like creatures that pop off it and start killing everyone.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many male adolescents will, particularly since there's a lot of Internet "buzz" about this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence, terror and disturbing images.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MICHAEL STAHL-DAVID plays a man who's moving from Manhattan to Japan but has his going away party interrupted by the monster's attack on the city. It's revealed he slept with Beth in the past, and he then sets out to try to rescue her. He drinks some and uses profanity.
  • MIKE VOGEL plays his brother who's throwing the party for him, and then finds himself in the same situation. He drinks some and uses profanity.
  • T.J. MILLER plays their friend who agrees to run the video camera and capture the going away party events, but then ends up doing the same for the monster attacks. He uses profanity.
  • ODETTE YUSTMAN plays a young woman who's apparently been a lover to Rob, and now brings another man to the party.
  • LIZZY CAPLAN plays a woman at the party who drinks, tries to blow off Hud's advances toward her, and then must contend with the repercussions of the attack.
  • JESSICA LUCAS plays Rob and Jason's friend who helps throw the party for Rob and likewise finds herself in a dire situation.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this monster/horror movie that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 35 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, and a woman (bare back) and man (just in his boxers) are separately seen in bed.

    Violence consists of monsters of varying sizes killing humans and causing all sorts of property damage, while smaller monsters are killed, and many military attempts are made on the biggest one. That monster on human violence has varying degrees of bloody results, while those scenes and many moments of potential peril (not to mention scenes designed to look like and remind viewers of 9/11 imagery) might be unsettling, suspenseful, or even scary to viewers.

    Some bad attitudes are present, as is drinking at a party, while other potentially imitative behavior also occurs. Tense family material includes a man reacting to his brother's death.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that in various scenes from flickering or blinking lights.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, the entire film is shot with a handheld camera, resulting in varying amounts of camera movement. As the camera operator walks, runs, etc., there is often a tremendous amount (up and down, left and right, angled, etc.), and the bigger the screen upon which this is viewed, and the closer one sits to it, the greater the likelihood of motion sickness setting in.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Many people drink at Rob's going away party, and this seems to go on for minutes if not hours (the camera footage jumps forward through time). The drinkers include Rob, Jason and Marlena, while we see a young woman passed out at the party.
  • Marlena makes some sort of drug-related comment to Hud at the party.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Following the attacks, there's a brief passing view of triage being performed on wounded and screaming victims (there's some blood, but the setting is dark and the view is quick).
  • A miscellaneous man has various streams of blood down his face.
  • Following an attack by the huge spider-like creatures, the survivors are bloody to varying degrees, including Marlene with very bad-looking gashes in her upper back.
  • We see victims with varying degrees of bloody wounds, including one with what looks like a very bad chest wound (seen in passing, just like that of a dead and slimy-looking, spider-type creature).
  • Blood suddenly pours from an injured woman's eyes and nose, and she's taken away where we then see a great deal of blood explode onto a hanging sheet (the bloody explosion is seen in silhouette).
  • Hud states that something is going to happen "Or else I'm gonna sh*t my pants in this stairwell."
  • We see some blood around a woman's shirt from where a steel rebar rod is sticking out.
  • People are dead, injured and bloody following a helicopter crash.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • After being prodded, Lily tells Jason and Hud that Rob and Beth slept together. That prompts Hud to go around and tell everyone ("They had sex," "They had sexual intercourse," etc.).
  • We see people looting after the attack.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary, especially to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • In addition, everything that occurs is seen from the point of view of a handheld video camera, so the images are usually shaky and sometimes frantic, thus preventing full views of what's occurring (that may make it more intense for some viewers).
  • A thunderous explosion somewhere in the city rocks the party and alarms/frightens everyone there. The TV news reports that it was an earthquake, and that a tanker has capsized nearby, so some people rush up to the rooftop for a better look (it's nighttime). Another sudden and massive explosion goes off in the distance, followed by huge chunks of flaming debris crashing down around the partygoers, damaging nearby buildings. They all panic and rush down the stairs, eventually getting out onto the street. There's action off in the distance and the head of the Statue of Liberty is seen flying through the air and it lands on the street and smashes some cars, nearly hitting various people. That's followed by a view of the Empire State Building collapsing in the distance, sending a massive cloud of dust and debris toward the camera (just as occurred during the 9/11 attacks). Everyone races for cover as the dust cloud travels through the city (our group hides in a nearby store as the lights flicker, etc.).
  • Following the attacks, there's a brief passing view of triage being performed on wounded and screaming victims (there's some blood, but it's dark and the view is quick).
  • Survivors attempt to cross a bridge when the monster attacks and smashes a large portion of it. This causes a great deal of damage, presumed injuries and death, and the survivors to panic and flee off the bridge.
  • Smaller, but still large, spider-like creatures (several feet tall) drop off the main monster and proceed to attack people, with the military shooting some of the creatures with machine guns.
  • Rob decides he must try to find and rescue Beth who's somewhere across the city, thus worrying those with him about what looks like a dangerous and foolhardy mission.
  • The military fires machine guns, tank fire, missiles and more at and into the monster, all as various survivors try to avoid the fallout from that, and they scramble to get down into a subway station.
  • The various fleeting views of the gargantuan monster (followed by a few and brief views of it in greater detail) might be unsettling or scary to some viewers.
  • Rob, Hud, Marlene and Lily take refuge in a subway station. They then decide to walk through the dark tunnel to get to another part of the city. Hud eventually turns on the camera's light, thus illuminating their view for just a few feet. They then see hordes of rats fleeing in one direction, and when Hud aims the camera in the direction from where they're coming and turns on the night vision feature, he spots some of the huge, spider-like creatures on the tunnel ceiling. They all flee, with the creatures attacking all of them, but the four manage to beat them off and escape into a room (barely closing the door as more try to get in). The humans are bloody to varying degrees, including Marlene with very bad-looking gashes in her upper back.
  • The four continue their slow walk and enter a deserted department store where armed military personnel suddenly aim their weapons at them.
  • Blood suddenly pours from an injured woman's eyes and nose, and she's taken away where we then see a great deal of blood explode onto a hanging sheet (the bloody explosion is seen in silhouette).
  • Seeing one tall building leaning against another, three survivors decide to go up the still standing one and then make their way over to the roof of the other one. They then do just that, precariously, and --walking across seriously tilted floors -- find a victim who has a piece of steel rebar sticking out from her chest. They then proceed to lift her off that (partially seen, but we hear her scream in full from that). As they try to evacuate her back to the first building, they spot the gargantuan monster approaching.
  • A large, spider-like creature attacks the survivors, with Rob repeatedly hitting it with an ax so that they can escape.
  • Some in the group try to escape via a helicopter, but something hits it, causing it to spin out of control and crash (all seen from inside the chopper via the handheld camera, so the view is quite disorienting).
  • We see handheld camera footage looking up at the gargantuan monster passing overhead. It then looks down at the camera operator and attacks and kills him (seen from the camera point of view).
  • Two survivors race into a tunnel to seek refuge, as explosions and such go off around and above them. The tunnel then collapses, presumably killing them.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Missiles/Tanks/Jet Fighters/Bombs: Used to try to kill the main creature and to kill some of the smaller ones. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "It's a sh*t job," "Make sh*t up," "Scared the sh*t out of," "Oh sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Some serious sh*t going on," "Strange sh*t," "Some horrific sh*t," "Shouldn't be doing this sh*t," "Or else I'm gonna sh*t my pants," "Are you seeing this sh*t?" "That's the sh*t right there," "Shut up," "Really pissed," "What up, dude?" "You're kind of a douche-bag," "What the hell was that?" "We get the hell out of..." and "Kind of freaking me out."
  • We see pieces of food being tossed toward Beth and she playfully tries to catch them in her mouth.
  • We see graffiti in the city.
  • We see people looting after the attack.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A thunderous explosion somewhere in the city rocks the party and alarms/frightens everyone there. That's followed moments later by another one.
  • The monster suddenly attacks a bridge.
  • Other sudden monster attacks might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 35 "s" words, 4 hells, 1 damn, 22 uses of "Oh my God," 12 of "Oh God," 3 each of "G-damn" and "Jesus," 2 each of "God" and "Oh Jesus" and 1 use of "Oh Jesus Christ."
  • There's a great deal of panicked yelling and screaming, so additional profanity may be present that isn't noted here (as it couldn't be heard in all of the audio chaos).
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see footage of Beth lying topless in bed, but face-down, so we see her bare back (and just a brief glimpse of the top of her chest, but no views of her bare breasts). We then see footage of the guy who was just filming her, and he's on the bed in just his boxers (nothing sexual occurs, and this is all done playfully between lovers).
  • Lily shows some cleavage in several scenes (in the same outfit).
  • After being prodded, Lily tells Jason and Hud that Rob and Beth slept together. That prompts Hud to go around and tell everyone ("They had sex," "They had sexual intercourse," etc.).
  • As Lily tries to crawl up some slanted debris, we see partial glimpses up her skirt of her panties (from behind, and in dimly lit environs, so not much is seen).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Spoiler Alert: Rob must contend with his brother being killed during an attack, and must relay that information to their mother via a cell phone call. Any such related grief thereafter is very brief.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The film as something of an allegory related to the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
  • People capturing horrific events on home video cameras.
  • We see people looting after the attack.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Everything that occurs is seen from the point of view of a handheld video camera, so the images are usually shaky and sometimes frantic, thus preventing full views of what's occurring.
  • A thunderous explosion somewhere in the city rocks the party and alarms/frightens everyone there, some of whom go to the roof. Another sudden and massive explosion goes off in the distance, followed by huge chunks of flaming debris crashing down around the partygoers, damaging nearby buildings. They all panic and rush down the stairs, eventually getting out onto the street. There's action off in the distance and the head of the Statue of Liberty is seen flying through the air and it lands on the street and smashes some cars, nearly hitting various people. That's followed by a view of the Empire State Building collapsing in the distance, sending a massive cloud of dust and debris toward the camera (just as occurred during the 9/11 attacks). Everyone races for cover as the dust cloud travels through the city (our group hides in a nearby store as the lights flicker, etc.). It's assumed that there are many resultant injuries and deaths.
  • Survivors attempt to cross a bridge when the monster attacks and smashes a large portion of it. This causes a great deal of damage, presumed injuries and death, and the survivors to panic and flee off the bridge.
  • Smaller, but still large, spider-like creatures (several feet tall) drop off the main monster and proceed to attack people, with the military shooting some of the creatures with machine guns.
  • The military fires machine guns, tank fire, missiles and more at and into the monster, all as various survivors try to avoid the fallout from that, and they scramble to get down into a subway station.
  • Rob, Hud, Marlene and Lily take refuge in a subway station. They then decide to walk through the dark tunnel to get to another part of the city. However, huge, spider-like creatures attack all of them, but the four manage to beat them off and escape into a room (barely closing the door as more try to get in). The humans are bloody to varying degrees, including Marlene with very bad-looking gashes in her upper back.
  • Jets fire missiles into the monster that steps down onto and presumably crushes a tank. A bomber then drops many bombs that hit and explode on the monster.
  • A large, spider-like creature attacks the survivors, with Rob repeatedly hitting it with an ax so that they can escape.
  • Some in the group try to escape via a helicopter, but something hits it, causing it to spin out of control and crash (all seen from inside the chopper via the handheld camera, so the view is quite disorienting).
  • We see handheld camera footage looking up at the gargantuan monster passing overhead. It then looks down at the camera operator and attacks and kills him (seen from the camera point of view).
  • Two survivors race into a tunnel to seek refuge, as explosions and such go off around and above them. The tunnel then collapses, presumably killing them.



  • Reviewed January 15, 2008 / Posted January 18, 2008

    Other new reviews available this week include:

    [The Expendables 3] [The Giver] [Let's Be Cops]

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