In 2008, uber-talented super producer JJ Abrams very quietly snuck CLOVERFIELD into theatres and found a big hit with audiences by putting a clever and exciting spin on the "found footage' film genre.
Abrams cast a strong group of young actors, a few that went on to much bigger roles.
As it opens, we see a group of young Manhattan friends gathering for a surprise party to send one of their own off to a new VP job in Japan. You learn just enough in the first twenty minutes to care about the characters, understand some lost loves, some great friendships and some key traits of the main characters.
At the 20 minute mark, a massive explosion rocks the loft they are in, lights flicker and news channels all pop on with word of a capsized tanker near the statue of liberty.
The party goers head to the roof to see what's happening and the film is off and running.
Another massive explosion erupts in the harbor and Lady Liberty's head flies through the air into their street, with millions of folks panicking at once and the terror escalating as something massive, loud and very angry decides to tear apart the city.
TJ Miller (Deadpool) brings plenty of humor as our man behind the camera for much of the film, determined to chronicle the event and catching some amazing footage.
Abrams and Director Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) follow the Steven Spielberg "Jaws" model, by teasing us with quick glimpses and visual teases of our massive monster, slowly feeding us more information as we go along toward a thrilling conclusion.
The special effects are absolutely first rate.
You'll never quite enter the subway at Spring Street or look at Columbus Circle the same way.
Reality is additionally served by the fact there is no music score until the end credits (when Michael Giacchino serves up a doozy of a monster theme) and the handheld camera work is consistent throughout.
Visually, this is one of the best monster movies of the past decade. For me, its far superior to "Pacific Rim" and is only equaled by Gareth Edwards 2008 "Godzilla" in recent years.
Abrams takes a $25 million budget and makes it look like $100 million.
You want to see a massive monster kick ass all over NYC? It doesn't get ANY better than this.
Cloverfield ROARS with an A.
Followed in 2016 by "10 Cloverfield Lane" from Abrams