PERFORMING ARTS

Cloverfield: Creatures and Catastrophes in Post-9/11 Cinema

Univ. Pr. of Mississippi Sept. 2023. 277p. ISBN 9781496846754. pap. $20. FILM
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The movie Cloverfield, released in 2008, marked a new beginning for giant creature and catastrophe films, Hantke (Monsters in the Machine) argues, and its urban New York City setting, handheld camerawork, and intimate portrayal of disaster instantly connected audiences to the devastation of the 9/11 attacks. Hantke takes readers down a rabbit hole and into the Cloverfield franchise by analyzing its three films through multiple disciplines. The book shines a light on the prominence of the first Cloverfield in postmillennial filmmaking and its ability to transcend the era in which it was created. The text is thoroughly researched, with topics including the history of giant creatures in both literature and film, their use as metaphors for world and political events, the history and usage of found footage in movies, and a look at the series’ creators. Hantke’s writing style is academic; readers should be aware that this is not a casual read about popular culture.
VERDICT A thorough investigation of Cloverfield as a post-9/11 touchstone of American cinema. A well-suited addition to academically focused library collections, especially those supporting studies in film and media analysis, political science, and sociology.
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