I’m sorry, but no one’s looking for you.
Let me just say from the outset that I’m going to say almost nothing about this movie because I think going into this movie knowing nothing at all is probably the ideal way to do it. The trailer gives away too much, I’d say. Anyway, desiring to say very little about the meat of the movie, I’ll just say a couple of things. The Cloverfield reference in the title is pretty awful and smells like nothing but marketing of the crassest kind, since this film has nothing to do with the previous movie. But without that marketing tie-in, I’m not so sure this movie would have gotten to theaters, so I guess good decision because I am glad thismovie exists and was released. I wouldn’t mind seeing “Cloverfield” turned into the new “Twilight Zone,” or something so that movies that are otherwise unrelated would reference Cloverfield in the title and thus we would know that they’re going to be strange thrillers. But whatever.
As to the movie itself, I’ll say that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic. She’s a genre favorite of a lot of people, but I’d only seen her in a small supporting part in Kill the Messenger last year. In this movie, she’s front and center and her performance holds the audience spellbound. Hang a movie on her; she’s up to the task. And then there’s John Goodman, better, I’d say, than he’s been in . . . decades. Maybe ever. I know I have to go all the way back to Lebowski to find a performance that’s worth being discussed with this one. The film has plot-twists galore and spoilers can be found everywhere (even in the genre listing on IMDB and Wikipedia), so go in knowing as little as possible. I will say one thing about the ending of the film: I would recommend you just buy in. Just accept the movie for what it is and, by the time you get to the ending, you’ll be ready to just ride with it. The ultimate ending to the film is the kind of thing that infuriates some people, but don’t let it do it to you. Just go along; the movie has a vision and you shouldn’t fight it. If you let the movie do its thing, it’s a taut, almost magical genre experience. It kept me riveted from start to finish; it’s filled with suspense and mystery and horror and I loved every minute of it. If you’re going to hate it for not being the movie you think it should be or want it to be, then you’ll be miserable. But let the movie make its own decisions; you’ll be very glad you did. 4 stars.
tl;dr – wonderfully acted genre piece is a thrilling, entertaining exercise in slow-burn tension; go in knowing nothing and surrender to the movie; it has a whole world to show you. 4 stars.