Cloverfield’s story is unfolded through personal footage retrieved by the United States Department of Defense. The tape, labeled “Cloverfield,” is said to be found in the area previously known as Central Park. The video is a compilation of footages taken on May 22, 2009 but some scenes from older footages also pop up.
The first footage shows Beth on a Monday morning dated on April 27. Her friend Rob is the one holding the camera. On that day, the two decide to go to Coney Island. The next segment is dated May 22, showing Rob’s brother, Jason and his girlfriend having a send-off party for Rob who is set to go to Japan. Hud, another friend of them, has the camera this time.
The next scene shows Beth arguing with Rob. She leaves and an earthquakes hits the city, cutting out the power lines for a brief moment. The cast see on the news a report about an overturned oil tanker near Liberty Island. As people leave the place, the head of the Statue of Liberty lands in front of them. The camera shows something large destroy the Woolworth Building. Sometime later, Brookyln Bridge is destroyed by a huge monstrous tail. Jason is killed in the incident. Reports on the news show the army fighting off the monster as smaller creatures fall off from its body and attack the other people around.
Rob receives a message from Beth saying that she is trapped in her apartment. Rob and his friends go to Midtown Manhattan to save Beth. They get in between the battle of the army and the monster. Inside a subway tunnel, they are ambushed by the small creatures from the monster. One of them is bitten and dies after they brought her to a field hospital. A command is issued ordering the utter destruction of Manhattan in an attempt to dispose of the monster.
The group manages to rescue Beth and they make their way to Grand Central Terminal where another attack from the monster ensues. The military fights the monster and saves the group using helicopters. A military aircraft bombs the monster and as it dies, its body catches one of the helicopters and it crashes.
The next footage resumes on May 23. An announcement from the helicopter’s radios blares that the Hammer Down protocol will commence in fifteen minutes. Rob, Beth and Hub wake up and they try to get out of the place. In their attempt, the monster appears again and kills Hud.
Rob and Beth get ahold of the camera as they make their way beneath Greyshot Arch in Central Park. Sirens start blaring and the bombs begin destroying the city. Rob and Beth use the camera to record their confessions regarding the events that they have been through and their love for each other. The footage ends with the monster’s screams heard from afar as more bombs plague the city, killing all the living beings on it.
The final footage shows Rob and Beth’s date on Coney Island showing something falling from the sky on the background. The credits indicate that the monster might not have been killed at all by the Hammer Down Protocol.