Last Halloween I wrote about Saw IV and the visceral nature of the genre of Torture Porn.  The significance to Barely Legal was its #1 draw at the box office well and above its more sophisticated neighbors in the movie house.  The punch in that post went something like this: “Seems that we're still into 32 million dollars worth of frightening ourselves in one weekend.  The runner up "Dan in Real Life" brought in 11.milloin dollars. Sorry Dan, real life isn't scary enough for me to shell out $8 to watch it.”  Well, it seems that 3 and a half months later, Hollywood scored again with viscerality. Cloverfield, a surreptitiously subversive horror flick disguised, with a deadpan title, as a Gen-YouTube monster movie, makes the convincing argument that Manhattan will crumble with a bang and a whimper. The ineffectual whimper of a handful of nobodies caught in the melee, though, is what's new in the old Godzilla formula — and also what's blackly funny.  What was interesting about Saw IV was that it beat out a bunch of reality movies when Hollywood thought that John and Jane Q. Public were worn out with blood and gore and wanted to see real people dealing with real problems.  The postulation that New York is still sacred ground that can only be depicted as a place of building and recovery is also a miss guided perception.  The interesting aspect to this classic but smart monster film is that it’s so bleak.  The Gen-YouTube kids are essentially stuck in the middle between the military’s Shock and Awe response and the Manhattan crushing monster’s actual crushing.  With all of the disaster projected to reign down upon us from Mother Nature and the impending terrorist catastrophe, the movie did well.  As Saw IV showed, sugar coated horror is no fun and people are interested in how death and destruction might just actually play out. Cloverfield racked in $41 million over the weekend and 27 Dresses pocketed a respectable but far less $22.4 million during the same period.

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