The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

  • Time: 102 min
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Julius Onah
  • Cast: Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Brühl, Aksel Hennie, David Oyelowo


In the near future, there is an energy crisis on Earth. The Cloverfield Station with a multinational crew will test the Shepard particle accelerator expecting to generate energy for all countries solving the energy problem. However, the experiment goes wrong, damages the station and opens a portal to another dimension with a parallel Earth. They also find a woman entwined with wires behind a bulkhead of the station and they learn she worked in an identical Cloverfield Station in another dimension. Now the scientists need to find a way to return to their own dimension.


  • If there are any screams to be had in The Cloverfield Paradox, the latest entry in the Cloverfield film universe, they are screams of boredom. To be fair, the film isn’t wholly bad but it seems all too content to be an often listless and derivative work, and in no way deserving of the franchise’s characteristically clever marketing and release campaign which, in this instance, introduced the trailer during the Super Bowl with the actual film dropping on Netflix hours thereafter.

    The Cloverfield series has always served as a prime example of J.J. Abrams’ brand of “mystery box” storytelling and, whilst Paradox doesn’t step out of the by-now-usual sandbox of multiple dimensions, competing realities and riddle-wrapped-in-an-enigma MacGuffins, its ever-more tenuous through lines, increasingly stock characters and diminishing quality are surely testing the faith of even the most diehard of fans.

    The film concerns the crew of the orbiting Cloverfield Station, who are tasked with testing the Shepard particle accelerator in the hopes of providing Earth with an unlimited supply of energy. Amongst them are Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who has left her husband (Roger Davies) behind in order to try and save the planet; American Kiel (David Oyelowo); suspicious German Ernst Schmidt (Daniel Brühl); equally shifty Russian Volkov (Aksel Hennie); religious Brazilian Monk Acosta (John Ortiz); Chinese Tam (Zhang Ziyi); and wisecracking maintenance worker Mundy (Chris O’Dowd). Predictably, things take a turn for the worse when, after two years of failed attempts, their elation at what seems to be a successful test of the accelerator turns to panic when they discover that the Earth is nowhere to be seen. Not only that, but strange happenings start to occur: Volkov is soon vomiting a tidal wave of worms; Mundy’s arm is sucked into a wall, cleanly sliced off, and takes on a life of its own; and, a woman named Mina Jensen (Elizabeth Debicki) suddenly materialises inside a wall, ensnared in a tangle of pipes and power lines.

    From thereon in, it’s more of what Schmidt describes as “Particles interacting with each other, across two dimensions. Two distinct realities, fighting to occupy the same space, creating chaos.” Or, more simply, don’t get too invested in any of these characters as they’ll be done away with in ways that we’ve seen in far better sci-fi films. The filmmakers prove themselves allergic to all sense of reason, logic or even creativity. As for the cast, it’s exasperating to see such talented actors so thoroughly wasted. Mbatha-Raw at least gets to work with a little more than the others, and O’Dowd provides welcome comic relief.

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  • “If you go… you and I will survive.
    I’m afraid if you don’t …
    No one will.”

    “Cloverfield” was a unique film. Lots of fans were looking forward to a sequel to this amusing found footage monster film. The sequel “10 Cloverfield lane” came 8 years later. It didn’t feel like this film had anything to do with the initial film. Till the end of the movie. It’s clear this one was situated after the events from “Cloverfield“. And then suddenly this Netflix release pops up from nowhere. “The Cloverfield Paradox” tries to explain why all that shit started to happen in Manhattan. Yep, again it’s about prequel and sequel stuff. And there’s nothing I hate more than prequel and sequel nonsense. It’s obvious this movie tries to connect with the original “Cloverfield” films, as you can clearly see on the movie poster.

    However, this film is right up my alley. A SciFi horror on board of a sophisticated space station with crew members trying their best to stay alive. I got a soft spot for such movies. The only problem is that they don’t need to defend themselves against cruel and bloodthirsty space aliens. It’s a paradox that causes peculiarities. And they caused it themselves. They are sitting on top of a gigantic particle accelerator that, if it works decently, should provide the earth with unlimited amounts of energy. I didn’t understand how that works at all. And I doubt whether the makers of the film understood it themselves. What happens afterwards is hilarious on the one hand, and scary on the other. And it was still hard to grasp what was going on.

    Because the particle accelerator failed to work, they end up in another dimension. Earth is gone and the most absurd events start to happen on board of the spaceship Cloverfield. Before they realize it, they find a teleported person behind a panel. An amputated arm is crawling around. Worms disappear and show up somewhere else. And it turns out that the gyro (a kind of compass) has disappeared. And it’s also found again in a not so obvious place. The arm turns out to be very helpfull as well. It reminded me of Thing from “The Adams Family” and the severed hand from “Evil Dead II“. Sounds pretty bizarre, doesn’t it?

    Eventually I had the same feeling about this film as with “10 Cloverfield Lane“. They both seem to be totally self-contained films that were given a small adjustment at the very last moment in order to be linked to the phenomenon “Cloverfield“. Both the film from 2016 and this one had a different film title initially and were given a variant with the term Cloverfield in it. Was it a panicky decision? They feared in both cases that it might cause a financial hangover? And was the link with the film, with the most original marketing ever used, a way to create a similar curiosity?

    I wasn’t knocked of my feet by “10 Cloverfield lane“. I even think they should have released this follow-up under the title “The God Particle” and omitted any reference to the Cloverfield universe. As a stand-alone film one could have criticized what the film is, instead of what the film wanted to be. Very bizarre, but the film itself has created a paradox. Despite everything, I was still amused by it.

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