The movie opens with mock U.S. Department of Defense warning messages which state that the video is property of the U.S. government and is not to be duplicated. The next screen reads:
DIGITAL SD CARD
MULTIPLE SIGHTINGS OF CASE DESIGNATE "CLOVERFIELD"
CAMERA RETRIEVED AT INCIDENT SITE "US-447"
AREA FORMERLY KNOWN AS "CENTRAL PARK"
These mock warnings set the ominous tone for the onset of the story. The movie is a mix of a Godzilla/monster movie and the Blair Witch. The whole movie is seen from the perspective of a hand held video camera being carried by one of the movie's protagonists. In the first scenes, we are introduced to Rob and Beth, a young couple seemingly in love. In the next scenes, we meet Rob's brother Jason and his girlfriend Lily, who are throwing a farewell party for Rob, who is leaving for Japan. During the party, Jason asks their friend Hud to videotape farewell messages from the party's participants for Rob. During the party, the ground shakes, lights flicker, and loud roars are heard in the distance. After initially assuming it was an earthquake, they quickly realize their mistake. In fact, New York City is under attack from some type of monster. Given the fact that the entire movie is told from the perspective of this group of friends as they try to escape from Manhattan, we never really gain any information as to what the monster is or its origin. The special effects are phenomenal. We see skycrapers crashing down, the collapse of the Brooklyn Bridge and even the head of the Statue of Liberty roll down the street. The early scenes with white billowing clouds of dust rolling down the street towards pedestrians desperately trying to escape were eerily reminiscent of scenes on TV during the 9/11 attacks. An interesting part of the movie is the use throughout the movie of snippets of previously recorded footage which were supposedly on the videotape and which are being recorded over. I enjoyed this movie, and would definitely recommend renting the DVD if you want to see a current day monster movie with great special effects. Check out some of the DVD extras on the special effects used in the movie.