Cloverfield is The Blair Witch Project for the post-Sept. 11 generation, a first-person, hand-held camera exploration of terror that's long on style and technique, short on substance and plot.
Like Blair Witch, Cloverfield purports to be a found videotape. Only this time, in keeping with an America where terror has become all too real, the tape reveals not ephemeral ghosts, but flesh-and-blood invaders. Introduced as some sort of government exhibit, found in the area known as "Central Park" (their quote marks, not mine), the tape opens at a going-away party for a stubble-bearded 20-something named Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who's on his way to Japan to become vice president of some unnamed company. Chronicling the evening - reluctantly, until he realizes a video camera at a party is a great way to meet chicks - is Rob's gentle doofus of a best friend, Hud (T.J. Miller).
Cloverfield (Paramount Pictures) Starring Michael Stahl-David, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas. Directed by Matt Reeves. Rated PG-13. Time 84 minutes.