It was dark, the only light coming from distant burning buildings. Somewhere out in the ruined city, an enormous monster was lumbering about, smashing things to pieces. The slow, booming thud of its steps was very loud, even though it was somewhere across town.
I was standing with a group of other people (all different ages; all strangers) near a shattered tenement. We had decided that we had to get out of town, but no one could agree on which way to go. Everyone was sure that everyone else's ideas were certain to get us squashed or eaten.
It was really important that we started moving in one direction or other, though, because the streets were crawling with beetle-like creatures that grew into vicious, bear-sized creatures with snapping pincers when they realised that they were close to people. We all agreed that our prospects were bleak.
Notes for Freudian Interpretation
If you've seen Cloverfield, you'll guess that I must have seen it as well (the giant, unseen monster, the scary smaller things and the bickering people will have given it away). If you haven't seen Cloverfield, I can't really recommend that you do, as there isn't much to it beyond the inventive first-person camera work and a couple of decent shocks. The characters, even though they're pretty lightly sketched, are immensely annoying. After the film, I decided that I wouldn't have found them so bad if I'd been, say, 10 years younger -- more their age, in other words. Can it be that I just don't like films with young people in them, I wondered? The more I thought about it, the more likely that sounded. Then I remembered that I'd liked Juno, though, and it's full of young people. And This is England was great, too, of course. Perhaps, I reasoned, I don't mind films about young people -- that is, films in which the fact of being young is the subject of the film -- but can't stand films that simply star young people because the filmakers don't want to make people look at old people.
I suppose I thought about that on and off throughout the rest of the day. Age. Being young. Being old. A few days earlier, I'd read an (surprisingly unsubtle) aphorism in a Philip Roth book: "Old age isn't a battle, it's a massacre," which probably connected itself in my mind to the massacre in Cloverfield and sort of justified my preoccupation with the issue of the age of the characters. After all, in the long term, what does it matter if the beautiful young men and women in Cloverfield escape from the city alive? In a matter of only a few decades, they'll be decrepit, perhaps senile and facing death all over again, but this time without the benefit of youth and beauty!
I think that my subconscious took Roth's observation and mixed it with what I'd seen in the film, producing its own version, which would be something like: "Old age isn't a battle, it's a huge lizardy monster rampaging about, squashing people and setting things on fire."