Like apparently everyone else in America, I saw Blair Witch Eats Manhattan (aka Cloverfield) this weekend, and I walked away thinking that, despite the movie's verité style, the most believable part about it was [spoiler alert] the giant CGI sea alien monster that [super spoiler alert] constantly sweats smaller scary alien arachnids. Well, that and [mega ridiculous spoiler alert] the fear.
While most movies, especially horror and monster movies, require some suspension of disbelief in order to be enjoyed, Cloverfield requires that you go into the movie with a mind that is basically a blank slate in order to be able to watch the whole thing without being consumed by irritation. So for those of you who haven't seen it yet, here's a handy guide to containing your disbelief in an impenetrable steel cage until one of your fellow audience members issues an outraged, "What?!" signaling the end of the movie.
Things You Shouldn't Think About During Cloverfield
1. Cell phones. Yes, you may know from real life experience that it's virtually impossible to get through to anyone via cell phone during a disaster of any kind–let alone listen to a voicemail message from your crush about how she's all the way uptown and can't move, blah, blah, blah–but forget about that. How else are two characters that you really don't care about in any way going to find each other without preposterous, semi-miraculous cell phone service? Let it go.
2. New York City Geography. So it would take a while to walk through the darkened 6 line from Spring St. to 59th St.? So what? And it would also take more than a few seconds of running to get from 59th and Lexington to Columbus Circle? Big deal. It's not like the movie is presented as an uninterrupted document of the evening shot more-or-less in real time, right?
3. Human Emotions. I know what you're thinking: If during a terrible disaster you had to tell your mom that her son, your brother, was dead, you probably wouldn't then follow-up that painful news with a lie about being evacuated just so you can go rescue a pseudo-girlfriend who is probably already dead anyway. In fact, talking to your mom would probably make your desire to escape the danger that much stronger. But, whatever. Have you ever had to weigh your family, life, and dead brother against your probably dead pseudo-girlfriend and almost certain death at the hands of an alien monster? No, you haven't. You don't know what it's like till you're the one getting miraculous cell phone service in the subway.
4. Horror Movies. Just because you've seen enough horror movies to know that running towards the monster instead of running away from it is a bad idea, doesn't mean that the characters in Cloverfield have. They are not savvy. In any way.
5. Basic Logic and The Will To Survive. One would think that the pull of these two things would be enough to keep most people from following a love-sick idiot on a wild-goose chase into the heart of a disaster. But, well, you shouldn't think about that. Marlena didn't. And if she had, who would have been the comic relief's love interest then?