It was one of 2008's first cinematic surprises, and all that secrecy paid off with a huge opening at the box office. It was an even nicer surprise when "Cloverfield" actually turned out to be a good new-school monster movie. Now the shaky-cam instant classic is on DVD, and director Matt Reeves was happy to answer all the severely spoiler-heavy questions he wouldn't go near four months ago.
If you've seen the movie, read on for answers about the fate of Marlena, whether the little monsters are babies and the potential sequel setups. If not, go grab the DVD and then come on back.
MTV: Matt, it must be nice finally being able to talk about the movie and knowing that it did so well.
Matt Reeves: It's very exciting, yeah. It's also cool because when the movie came out here, it didn't come out all over the world on the same day, so I ended up getting to travel with it a bit. Finally, about two weeks ago, it came out in Japan, which was really fun because I was promoting a movie inspired by "Godzilla," so it was really fun to see how they responded.
MTV: When Hud gets eaten by the monster, Rob risks his life to grab the camera, rather than responding the way most of us would: ducking your head and running for the friggin' hills. Why?
Reeves: I think it really becomes a tribute. Rob is losing his best friend. What seemed to him to be Hud's crazy commitment to the documentation of this evening, first with the party, and then an importance on [chronicling] what might be a testament to their last moments on Earth, becomes not only a way to do that but to also honor his friend. That's always what I felt, and that's what [myself and the actors] talked about. It's an unstated thing that some people might get and some people might not.
MTV: We all remember the scene where the medics realize that Marlena was bitten by one of the little monsters. They pull her behind a see-through curtain, and then there's blood all over the place. What happened there?
Reeves: She explodes. All of the medical technicians and all of the military start reacting to the realization that she has been bitten, because other people had been bitten and had horrible fates befall them. If you watch closely, you'll actually see one guy in particular get wheeled [past the camera], and his innards have exploded from the inside-out. ... Apparently, there is quite a bad effect from the venom of these little parasites.
MTV: So once these things bite you, you'll begin to swell and eventually explode.
Reeves: Yeah, it has a bad effect. It's not something you would want to partake in.
MTV: Do the little monsters have a name?
Reeves: In our minds, we called them parasites. The guy who developed the creature, Neville Page, did a really brilliant thing: Everything had to be grounded in reality, and he drew on biology and evolution, even though this creature never existed, to try to understand it. We wanted to have an intimate terror that went beyond something huge stomping around. ... In our minds, [these little monsters] were an evolutionary development, a protection that had developed over thousands of years. The same way we have bacteria on our skin, this thing has parasites.
MTV: Are they baby monsters? Will they grow up to be identical to the big monster?
Reeves: No, that was never our intention.
MTV: When our heroes finally get to Beth's apartment, we see her lying on the ground, with a rod sticking out of her chest. But the camera falls behind some debris as they help her out. What exactly happened?
Reeves: Well, she's impaled through her side. It's basically an area through her chest, up by where her collarbone is. Luckily, it's an area of fleshiness, and she's been impaled through that.
MTV: What happens to Lily after she gets on the helicopter?
Reeves: In my opinion, we didn't see Lily die, so ... she got in that helicopter, and what we saw was the monster attack the helicopter that Hud and Rob and Beth were in. So does Lily live in the end? Who knows?
MTV: Do Rob and Beth die?
Reeves: Basically, the only information that you have is on that tape, and the rest of it doesn't exist. Because of that, your guess is as good as mine. I have a sense as to the likelihood, but I guess one of the things that we were talking about in our minds was the idea that as long as he had gotten to her and they were together in this last moment, it was almost beside the point whether or not they lived.
MTV: But it's safe to say that the odds of Lily being alive are better than the other two?
Reeves: It does seem that way. Rob and Beth would have to survive being buried alive, but such a thing has happened, so they very well could be alive. But it does seem more likely that Lily may have survived. Potentially, all will be revealed at some point, depending on the next story we do.
MTV: Where does the sequel stand at this point?
Reeves: In the very beginning stages. We all had such a crazy experience making the movie. It was so unusual and challenging to make a movie from that point of view and under these conditions, and one of the things we all promised each other was that this experience was so special professionally and creatively that we don't want to just make another one. [It needs to have] something fresh and new to it. We have a couple ideas, but it's so early.
MTV: You'd have to assume that somebody else has a camera out there that could be found. Is that the plan? To once again chronicle the same attack but from a different angle?
Reeves: Yes, this one is just one of thousands of movies [that could be showing] the same thing. We are such a media-saturated world. You see events that are sometimes many different people who've been witnesses to what's going on. ... You look on CNN and they have viewer videos all the time. That was one of the reasons why it was really important to me that when the head of the Statue of Liberty came bounding down the street, some people would be freaking out but a certain number of those people would pull out their video phones and start taking pictures. There could very well be another movie made of that night, from another point of view. It would be an entirely different story of people surviving that evening.
MTV: Who wins in a fight: Godzilla or your monster?
Reeves: I would like to see that. I think that they are both vicious and tenacious, so it would be a very good fight. Maybe that's the sequel!
Check out everything we've got on "Cloverfield."
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