I love this J.J. Abrams produced movie because I am mean spirited.
It starts out with a bunch of young, attractive, New York 20-somethings having a party and complaining a little too much and having the bulls**t drama that 20-somethings hold so dear...all this, of course, in a very well decorated apartment. This sequence isn't very long but it feels like two hours. One of the partygoers is the hippie from True Blood (Lizzy Caplan), who has made an art of being both ditzy and somehow intimidating.
Then a monster invades New York.
Not a brain surgeon in the bunch, as they all think heading to the roof is a good idea after what could have been an earthquake. But No! It gets worse! Explosions! Flaming Debris! Screaming! Fleeing! Poor decision making! Mutants! All of these American Apparel models are going to die!! Obviously, the party breaks up, and we follow a smaller group of people who decide to take Rob (Michael Stahl-David ) on his ill-advised plan: Cross the freshly-made downtown combat zone to see about a girl.
You probably already know that Cloverfield is a standard Monster-Invades-New-York scenario told from the perspective of everyone else. You know those guys on the boat that brought the thing, or the shady government organization that's known about it for years? Not them.
When is the government going to realize we wouldn't need universal health care if they'd just stop bringing ultra destructive monsters into our population centers?
It would also be easier to cover up, since everyone and their mother has a video-equipped cell phone these days. Imagine how much money it takes to police up and erase all that footage filmed in glorious Shake-o-Vision.
One of the silliest things about this movie is just how seriously screwed the main characters are and the decisions they make despite this. Prime example: there's a 30 story tall something trashing Manhattan, and one of three on screen characters decides he needs to cross the newly made demilitarized zone for a girl he apparently slept with once. Once.
So they go there. They encounter trials and tribulations, like mutant snow crabs and whatever diseases they're carrying, and the 30-story 'something', and it's all pretty pulse pounding. The movie clocks in at a fat-free 85 minutes and barely leaves time to breathe.
Really, this movie gets everything right in terms of straight presentation, cinematography and style. Unlike a lot of other directors, Matt Reeves makes it a point to have almost no signature on his work when necessary, which lends a great deal of credibility to what's going on. Where John Woo has his doves and his fire, Tarantino has his feet and DePalma has misogyny, Mr. Reeves appears to have authenticity; he'll certainly be one to watch, with his remake of Let The Right One In (titled Let Me In ) coming soon.
That being said, you could really have a great time with this movie and any number of "documentary" style horror films with simple "WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?!" humor.