It's almost June, and you know what that means. A fresh batch of movies and TV shows are coming to Netflix, just as some of our favorites leave the streaming service — maybe forever. You've still got plenty of time before most of these films are gone from Netflix, but with so many sci-fi classics leaving in June 2020, we wanted to highlight one in particular as soon as possible so you could make plans to grieve accordingly (or, you know, just organize a movie night.)
In 2007, commercials for a mysterious new movie titled Cloverfield from J.J. Abrams (best known at the time as the creator of Lost) began to circulate. With little information to go on but plenty of hype, fans and journalists alike wondered if it was a new Godzilla movie, an H.P. Lovecraft adaption, or even a Lost spinoff (the island comes to New York...). What no one expected, was that Cloverfield would be a totally original monster movie that launched an exciting new franchise.
Produced by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Star Wars), directed by Matt Reeves (the new Planet of the Apes movies, and the upcoming The Batman), and written by Drew Goddard (Buffy, Alias, Lost), Cloverfield was a fresh take on the found-footage monster movie. Set during one night in New York when a gigantic and disgusting creature attacks, Cloverfield succeeds by withholding its monster for as long as possible and then delivering the motherload when we finally see it face-to-face.
The Cloverfield monster is equal parts terrifying and nauseating. I can still remember shuddering when those smaller bug-like monsters drop out of its pores and chase after some unfortunate humans. And that last scene where the monster leaps into the air to attack an escaping helicopter is unforgettable.
Beyond establishing the careers of Abrams and Reeves, Cloverfield also helped usher in a new type of monster movie franchise. Instead of creating straightforward sequels in which his monster attacks some other city, Abrams used his production company Bad Robot to hoover up promising horror scripts and adapt them into a sort of Cloverfield anthology.
To be fair, the results are mixed at best. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a claustrophobic thriller with a soaring finale that mostly works thanks to strong performances from John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The Cloverfield Paradox is a hoaky sci-fi scarefest that attempts to give Cloverfield an origin story but falls flat.
It's unclear what's next for the franchise. Abrams previously confirmed a fourth movie is in the works, but his recent deal with Warner might mean the death of the Paramount-owned franchise. In the meantime, there's never been a better opportunity to revisit the movie that started it all before Cloverfield leaves Netflix next month.
Cloverfield is streaming on Netflix until June 30.