Drew Goddard’s "Cloverfield" – Post-911 Horror Film

Published: 2021-09-14 13:45:12
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Viewed as a great post-911 horror film Drew Goddard’s Cloverfield (2008) is a great representation of what horror films became post the September 11th attacks from 2001. The film contains scenes similar to those taken place during the 9/11 attacks, where two planes crashed the twin towers killing thousands of people and leaving thousands hurt. Cloverfield is a film taken place in New York City. The film is mostly shot in first person, giving the viewer a sense of living every moment the characters experience. The City is attacked by a reptile looking monster and the city is in total chaos. The city is destroyed by the giant, reptile looking monster and all the characters end up dead. Thus, ending the film without any security or “happy ending”. The post-911 horror film Cloverfield, presents outbursts of violence, has a foreign element that threatens the American ideology, and has similar imagery those of 9/11. The film shows us how from one moment to another, the city of New York is attacked. Threatening the American ideology of the United States being an impenetrable superpower. The images shown during this film are very similar to those that occurred during the attacks of September 11th in the United States.
During the film, we are exposed to various scenes those similar to the ones from 9/11. One of the scenes that shook me the most and reminded me of the horrible acts of 9/11 was, the scene where the film took an arbitrary outburst towards violence. Where Rob, the main character and his friends were having a go-away party for him when, without any warning they were stricken by what first seemed to be an earthquake. As Rob and his friends went to the rooftop of the building, they saw the imagery of a skyscraper exploding and being destroyed. As the skyscraper was being destroyed into pieces, debris started falling from the sky, threatening the safety of the characters. This scene is very similar to those from 9/11, when the twin towers were being destroyed by the airplanes and as the airplanes hit the towers explosions occurred and debris started to fall. This scene from the film is very alike to what happened during 9/11 because, the setting is the same, the scene contains various factors that contribute to the likeliness of what occurred when the airplanes crashed the twin towers, for example, the explosions and the debris. After this scene, the imagery continues as well as the dread. “Thus post 9/11 film is not about the revelation of horror and suppression of horror, but the continuation of dread.”(Alvarado,13). After the first scene, the dread continued to increase. The dread was never eliminated from the film. This showing how post-911 horror is put into action and manifesting itself within the viewers, triggering insecurities and anxieties from those lived or seen on 9/11.During this film, the American ideology and security was at stake, bringing back the fear of foreign attacks and the foreign dangers, and changing the attitudes of the viewers towards foreigners. In the first half of the film the monster is introduced, the monster is named Clover. Clover is the giant, looking reptile that attacked the city of New York during the film. Threatening the American society and ideology. Clover threatened the ideology of, that the United States is untouchable and cannot be brought down. It threatened the American ideology, that brings insecurity to the viewer just as when the 9/11 attacks occurred and the American ideology was hurt because of the destruction caused and the feeling of vulnerability produced. “The foreigner is marked as an Other because of the characteristics that exclude him from the dominant group, and he is specifically foreign in that he ‘is not a citizen of the country in which he resides”. In this case Clover is the foreigner because, of the non-human like appearance he has and possessed a threat to the American culture and ideology. Making it something that does not belong there and causes fear to the characters during the film. Just like the terrorists who crashed the planes on the twin towers. The terrorists were foreigners. They caused panic and chaos. This all ties back to what horror became post-911. The fear of the foreign dangers. As well as the anxiety that the United States is untouchable and that the United States military is unbeatable. Our military is perceived as heroic and untouchable, and they give us a sense of comfort as we give them our trust to take care of our country. however in this film, the military was not able to take down Clover despite the weapons they had. therefore, diminishing the thought that in reality, we truly aren’t 100% not safe. This may strike fear as it makes a connection to the actual 9/11 event, reminding America about the awful attack. Our nation still lives in fear and paranoia, as it is revealed through the hatred towards foreigners.
Cloverfield’s ending added more to the post-911 horror genre. The ending where the main protagonist (Rob) dies. The film is left with great insecurity and anxiety because, Clover is still on the loose and the horror projects on, continues. The film produces arbitrary outbursts of violence by showing us how at one point in the film everything is okay without any warning that something is going to occur, then out of nowhere something occurs. The film threatens the American society and ideology by, all the terror and horror that occurred in the film. Also, that the military couldn’t take down Clover no matter how much armory and ammo they had. Taking away the sense of security that the United States has, that nothing can take down the United States military. The film also, produces foreign fears and anxieties that impact the American attitudes, adding insecurity about foreigners. In conclusion, this film is a prime example of what horror became post-911. It became horror that targets insecurities and anxieties within the viewers. This type of horror‘s objective is to hit a soft spot in the American viewer, making them relive and rethink of the 9/11 attacks, making connections between film and events. As an American, I can admit that these scenes hit a sensitive spot due to the traumatic event of 9/11. Overall, this film was powerful enough to trigger emotions and fears that Americans today still hold from the catastrophe.

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