Perspective from the street-level as a towering, rampaging monster plows straight through the heart of Manhattan. At the time this was released, we were roughly a decade past The Blair Witch Project, long enough for the found footage trope to have thoroughly played itself out. Yet in many ways this feels like a revelation, one which would collapse without that same central gimmick. Like bystander footage from a major disaster, the placement of the camera makes the chaos and mayhem of this sudden, citywide catastrophe feel completely vivid and tangible. It's like we're there with the victims; our pulse racing, our eyes widened by the dead and injured, our skin coated by the dust of so much collapsed concrete. Moments that would've certainly felt cheesy from a traditional POV, high above the action, now deliver beyond any reasonable expectation. We get to know the core characters well, their thoughts and quirks and feelings, and we mourn when they're abruptly taken from us in the confusion. It tells a desperate human story in a genre that usually struggles with such elements, and doesn't shy from the profound, lasting conclusion that everything seems to be building toward from the start. The plot does have holes, some larger than others, but given the frenetic pace and rapid developments, those are relatively easy to shake off and leave behind. I was surprised by how Cloverfield moved me today, nine years after the fact. Surely one of the most memorable, ambitious, effective films of the decade.