In 2008, producer JJ Abrams, screenwriter Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods, Daredevil), and director Matt Reeves (Planet of the Apes series, The Batman) came together to make one of the most successful food-footage movies in Cloverfield. Following in the footsteps of The Blair Witch Project (relatively small budget, amazing marketing campaign), Cloverfield made almost $200 million. 15 years later, Matt Reeves has been reflecting on what made the science fiction movie special.
There has been much speculation regarding the monster – including whether it’s a kaiju or alien. Reeves explained to SyFy Wire that they did know the backstory of the creature; “You have to understand what’s going on with them emotionally. And for me, the big secret was that the monster was a baby and was experiencing separation anxiety. The reason the monster was freaking out is because they were having fits based on looking for their mother.”
It turns out this monster movie is more heart-breaking than it seemed; “And so, [the monster] was just as afraid as the main characters, because it seems like there would be nothing more terrifying than the human element fighting this giant monster element and, actually, both of them are just terrified. That’s a mess. That’s not good. So that part of it was absolutely something that we talked about in the development of the creature and in terms of how I shot it.”
Reeves confirms the monster’s alien origins; “It’s alien. In fact, at the end of the movie, you can see the moment when it comes to [Earth]. It’s another one of those little Easter egg moments, but when we revisit that footage where they’re on the Ferris wheel at the end, you can see the meteor flying down and hitting the ocean. That’s actually the beginning of the baby being on Earth.”
The monster’s origins were further explored in The Cloverfield Paradox, which attempted to replicate both the shock tactics of the marketing, as well as the success, of the first movie – which more muted results. Apparently another Cloverfield movie is currently in development, and this time it knows it’s a Cloverfield movie.