Matt Reeves has opened up on why the giant monster attacked New York City in the 2008 found-footage film Cloverfield. To commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the film’s release (January 18, 2008), Reeves told Syfy that an entire backstory had been outlined for the creature.

“For sure we did,” Reeves said. “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. 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. 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.”

Later in the interview, Reeves confirmed that the creature is alien in origin, and that during the film’s final scene, the monster’s arrival on Earth is captured on camera. You will need to squint, or it’ll be easy to miss. “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,” Reeves explained. He called it “the beginning of the baby being on Earth.”

Cloverfield follows five friends documenting an alien monster rampaging through New York City. A direct sequel is in the works.

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