Cloverfield is a 2008 American monster thriller film directed by Matt Reeves, produced by J. J. Abrams and written by Drew Goddard. Before settling on an official title, the film was marketed as 1-18-08. The film follows six young New Yorkers attending a going-away party on the night that a gigantic monster attacks the city.
First publicized in a teaser trailer in screenings of Transformers, the film was released on January 17 in New Zealand and Australia; January 18 in North America; January 24 in South Korea; January 25 in Taiwan; January 31 in Germany; and February 1 in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy. In Japan, the film was released on April 5. VFX and CGI were performed by effects studios Double Negative and Tippett Studio.
The film is presented as found footage from a personal video camera recovered by the United States Department of Defense. A disclaimer text states that the footage is of a case designated “Cloverfield” and was found in the area “formerly known as Central Park”. The video consists chiefly of segments taped the night of Friday, May 22, 2009. The newer segments were taped over older video that is shown occasionally.
The first video segment opens when Rob wakes up on the morning of Monday, April 27 having slept with Beth, a previously platonic friend. They make plans to go to Coney Island that day. The footage cuts to May 22, when Rob’s brother Jason and his girlfriend Lily prepare a farewell party for Rob who will be moving to Japan. Their friend Hud uses the camera to film testimonials.
After Beth leaves the party, an apparent earthquake strikes, and the city suffers a brief power outage. The local news reports that an oil tanker has capsized near Liberty Island. When the party-goers leave the building, they see the head of the Statue of Liberty crash into the street with several stunning scratch and bite marks. Hud records what appears to be a hand of a large creature several blocks away. The monster causes the Woolworth Building to collapse. Later, during the evacuation of the city, a gigantic tail destroys the Brooklyn Bridge, also killing Jason. News reports show the Army National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division attacking the monster and smaller “parasite” creatures falling off its body and attacking people.
Rob listens to a phone message from Beth saying she is trapped in her apartment and unable to move. Going against the crowd, Rob, Hud, Lily, and Marlena (another party guest) venture to Midtown Manhattan to rescue Beth. They run into the Spring Street station because the monster attacked. They are attacked by several of the “parasite” creatures inside the subway tunnel, and Marlena is bitten. They enter 59th Street, where they exit the subway. They come across a command center and field hospital, where Marlena inflates and explodes to death. One of the military leaders tells the group when the last evacuation helicopter will depart before the military executes its “Hammer Down Protocol”, which will destroy Manhattan.
The group rescues Beth, who was impaled on a piece of rebar. The four make their way to the evacuation site, where they encounter the monster once more over Grand Central Terminal. Lily is raced into a departing Marine Corps helicopter. Moments later, Rob, Beth and Hud are taken away in a second helicopter and witness a U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bomb the monster. The monster falls, then lunges at the helicopter, causing it to crash into Central Park.
The film skips to Saturday, May 23 (less than an hour later), with a voice on the crashed helicopter’s radio warning that the Hammer Down protocol will begin in 15 minutes. The three friends regain consciousness and flee the helicopter. As they leave, the monster kills Hud. Rob and Beth grab the camera and take shelter under Greyshot Arch in Central Park as air raid sirens begin to blare and bombing starts. Rob and Beth take turns leaving their last testimonies of the day. The bridge crumbles and debris covers the camera.
The film then cuts to the footage of Rob and Beth’s Coney Island date on April 27. In the distance, unnoticed by Rob and Beth, something falls into the ocean nearby a ship.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film: