Jason Hawkins (Mike Vogel): [to Rob] You're not good enough for her. That's it. That's fact. That's science. Beth McIntyre is like from a whole nuther planet, man. She's beautiful, she's charming. And you, I love you, but let's face it you're kind of a douchebag. And going to Japan is not going to fix that.
Beth (Odette Yustman): [sees monster] What is that?
Hud (T. J. Miller): It's a terrible thing.
[much later, while trying to get to a flight of stairs, Rob encounters a parasite and kills it]
Beth: Oh my God! What is that?
Hud: I don't know! Something else! Also terrible.
At a glance: Point of view horror/sci-fi film, all lensed in a home-movie shakey-cam format, will test your ability to withstand seasickness, but if you can tolerate the technique, you will be rewarded with one of the most clever and realistic monster movies ever made.
A New York based surprise party for a young man named Rob (Michael Stahl-David) (who is moving to Japan) is being filmed by ‘Hud’, Rob’s friend. At the party, we learn about Rob’s long-time friendship, recent romantic interlude, and argument with friend Beth. The party is interrupted when a huge, people-eating creature invades Manhattan, causing Godzilla-like destruction. Hud keeps filming during the evacuation. While being evacuated to safety, Rob receives a phone message from Beth that she is trapped in her apartment in midtown. Rob heads there to help her, while Hud, Lily (Jessica Lucas), and Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) tag along. If it wasn’t bad enough to have a huge creature on the loose, it is shedding vicious spider-like babies the size of cats that bite and impregnate. All of the images are supplied by party-goer turned fleeing victim Hud, so it’s all shakey-cam, all the time, except for a couple of very short sequences where the movie-maker focuses on a television screen. We catch tantalizing, terrifying snippets of the creature as it shows a leg here or a tail there between New York City’s high-rises, and we know it’s evil, because it bit the head off the Statue of Liberty like it was no more than a big chocolate bunny rabbit. It’s prudent 85 minute running time is filled with a non-stop roller-coaster ride of thrills and scares, and it’s even cleverly blended with bits of a Rob and Beth outing to Coney Island (that was on the videotape before this event).
Note: Talk of a possible sequel is already in the works. Will they opt for a shakey-cam sequel, and, if so, how will they work that into the plot? Perhaps it can be filmed by someone with a nervous twitch…
"The special effects are excellent, with just enough being shown of the marauding 'attacker' and its minions to keep you on the edge of your seat."
- Michael A. Smith (Nolan's Pop Culture Review)
"Nothing feels choreographed or contrived; every shot of disaster is found footage or dumb luck, every glimpse of the threat is fleeting and often unsatisfying. This is, simply put, awesome."
- Karina Montgomery (Cinerina)