* Elliott's bike from ''[[Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial E.T.]]'' makes an appearance late in the film, crate and all.
* Joe Lamb's father is a [[VeronicaMars Sherriff's Deputy]], but at least he's not CluelessDeputy.
* In "The Case," the evil MegaCorp responsible for the zombie outbreak is named "Romero Chemicals", after the director of ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' and ''Film/DawnOfTheDead'', which must have been the kid's main sources of inspiration.
* "Operation Walking Distance" had its codename chosen because "Walking Distance" was Abrams' favorite episode of the ''Series/TwilightZone''. It is about going back to where and when you grew up, which in some ways fits considering this is Abrams' tribute to the movies that he liked growing up.
* When the alien attacks the bus, the driver is [[Film/JurassicPark grabbed by the feet and pulled out, and he futilely holds on tightly to the side of the door before finally being pulled out and eaten]].
* Cary is quite possibly named after Cary Guffey, the 3-year-old star of ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind''.
* Near the end of the movie, in the big Climax in town, one of the business signs visible says "John Locke".