Matt Reeves reveals why the Cloverfield monster attacked New York

Cloverfield monster
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Cloverfield director Matt Reeves has explained key details about the giant monster that attacks New York City in the J.J. Abrams-produced movie. 

Thanks to the film's found footage style, the creature is a complete enigma throughout the movie as characters experience its rampage in real-time. A very effective viral marketing campaign also generated plenty of buzz about the mysterious monster ahead of the film's release in 2008. 

"For sure we did," Reeves told Syfy (opens in new tab), when asked if there was a backstory worked out for the creature. "Because you have to figure how to direct the monster, so to speak. So you have to understand what's going on with them emotionally."

According to Reeves, the terrifying Cloverfield monster is, in fact, just an infant. "And for me, the big secret was that the monster was a baby and was experiencing separation anxiety," he explained. "The reason the monster was freaking out is because they were having fits based on looking for their mother. 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." 

He also talked more about the creature's origins. "It's alien. In fact, at the end of the movie, you can see the moment when it comes to [Earth]," Reeves said. "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 film ends with old footage of Rob (Michael Stahl-David) and Beth (Odette Yustman) in happier times aboard a Ferris wheel. Eagle-eyed viewers, though, might notice an unidentified object crashing into the sea at one point in their video, meaning the happy couple captured the beginning of the monster's reign of terror. 

There have been two other films in the Cloverfield franchise so far: 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox. A fourth film is on the way and will be directed by Babak Anvari, with J.J. Abrams back to produce. 

You can fill out your watchlist with our guide to the best Netflix movies streaming now. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.