10 Cloverfield Lane. The sequel to the gargantuan found footage masterpiece, Cloverfield – or is it? When the sudden release of the trailer appeared out of nowhere, the interwebs were abuzz with excitement. “How did we not know that this was in development?” horror fans chimed in unison. “How did they manage to keep this a secret?” they pondered. Well, the internet has a way of figuring things out, and what it figured out was that this was not initially intended to be the sequel to the 2008 hit. In fact, this was originally another movie all together; a movie called “The Cellar.”
The Cellar was under development by Bad Robot, Paramount’s label for micro-budget movies. Abrams explained that they noticed a lot of core similarities between the movies and decided to make it a “spiritual successor.” To quote Abrams:
This felt like an opportunity to do something we wanted to do anyway, but it felt like its connection to that place was too similar to us to ignore. We thought, “Let’s be overt about it. Let’s make the connection, but not make it the kind of sequel that people might expect.
He went on to talk about using the monster from the original:
There is a monster in this movie. It’s not the monster you expect, but there is a monster. The thing that I will say about anyone who is going to it expecting to see literally Cloverfield 2, those characters and that monster are not in this movie, but there are other characters and other monsters. It’s a very different story, but it is a spiritual successor to that movie.
Original internet theories did not buy into a lot of what was said about the film though. Redditors believed that this was nothing more than a cash grab; a B-movie that had Trachenburg come in last minute to reshoot the ending and have the name “Cloverfield” slapped onto the title. Hellraiser: Deader was a film that had actually undergone such a process and we all know how well that turned out.
Since its release, the film has received a lot of positive feedback and scored a pretty high rating on IMDB (7.5 as I write this). I therefore decided to set my apprehensions aside, clear my head, and sit down to enjoy a good ol’ sci-fi horror. I was not disappointed. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a fantastic movie.
The premise is definitely not original: a group of people stuck in a bunker or fallout shelter while the world ends above them. I automatically thought of 2015’s Hidden, which I also really enjoyed. What made 10 Cloverfield Lane such a treat was easily the performances. John Goodman was unsettlingly good as the enigmatic and eccentric doomsday prepper, Howard. Mary Elizabeth Winstead played our skeptical and savvy heroine, Michelle and John Gallagher Jr. played the childish yet charming Emmett. All gave award winning performances, especially Goodman, who, for me, really just stole the show.
The movie’s success comes mainly from the twofold suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Not only do you have to concern yourself with what’s happening above ground (if anything at all), there is also the constant uneasiness that something foreboding lurks underground as well. I won’t go into the details as to avoid spoilers, but you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about once you get around to watching the film, which you absolutely have to do.
The pace is also fantastic. So much so that the movie actually felt a lot shorter than it’s hundred and three minute runtime. Even with only three characters, 10 Cloverfield Lane manages to avoid monotonous dialog and builds suspense and tension with each passing scene. Dread and foreboding really manage to permeate the film all the way through to the action filled conclusion.
Now, as for being a “Cloverfield” movie, I just really didn’t see it. The movie was great, and I’m glad that slapping on that branding got the movie a lot of attention and praise, but it really did not in any way feel like a “spiritual successor” to the original. There was almost nothing in common with the first movie other than the fact that there is some kind of alien creature present in both. Was I disappointed? No, the movie really held its own. Do I still want to see an actual sequel to Cloverfield? Yes, I do.
Check out the trailer below and let us know what your thoughts are on the movie.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.