10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Monsters come in many forms.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 American science fiction film produced by Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot. The film is the second entry in the Cloverfield anthology series, after the 2008 giant monster film, Cloverfield. It was released to American theaters on March 11, 2016. Unlike its predecessor, which presented itself as footage from a camcorder recovered by the military, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a conventionally-shot film taking place largely in a single location. It is not set in the same universe as Cloverfield, although one of its characters used to work for a company that was part of the first film's alternate reality game.
Michelle hastily moves out of her New Orleans apartment. Just before she leaves, she grabs a bottle of scotch and sets her engagement ring on a table. As she drives through the countryside, she takes a call from her fiancé Ben, who is incredulous that she left him after an argument, but hangs up without responding. She switches over to the radio and hears a report on unexplained blackouts on the southern seaboard. Ben calls again, but a truck going the other way smashes into her before she can answer, spinning her off the road and knocking her unconscious.
When Michelle awakens, she finds herself hooked up to an IV and chained to a wall in a concrete room. Terrified, she uses the IV to drag over her cell phone from across the room, but cannot pick up a signal. Just then a man named Howard enters with a tray of food and a holstered pistol on his side. He gives her a pair of crutches and the key to the handcuffs, but explains little about her situation, only that he’s “going to keep her alive” and “no one is looking for [her].” When he leaves, she sharpens one of her crutches to a point and starts a fire to lure him back into the room. However, he overpowers her and sedates her. He provided some more clarity the next time they speak, claiming that a nuclear or chemical attack by unknown forces has rendered the outside world uninhabitable; he happened upon the crash scene and saved her life by taking her to his survival bunker.
A crash reveals a third person with them: Emmett, a younger man who Howard clearly dislikes. Howard takes Michelle on a tour of the bunker, which is outfitted with a living room and kitchen. She remains skeptical of his story, even after glimpsing a pair of rotting pigs outside, as she believes she heard a car above her room earlier. Worse, she recognizes his truck as the one that collided with her. Emmett, however, corroborates it, telling her that he saw a bright red flash of apocalyptic proportions while driving home from work. He fought his way into the bunker afterwards, having helped build it years ago.
At dinner, Emmett’s joking charms Michelle but irritates Howard. She sees an opportunity to steal his keys to the bunker door by flirting with Emmett, pulling the theft off as Howard forces an apology out of her. Hearing a car stop above them, she hits Howard with a soda bottle and races for the door. The driver turns out to be badly scarred, though she insists that “it only touched me a little.” A shocked Michelle refuses to let her in, and returns to the bunker as she futilely smashes her head against the window.
Howard admits that he crashed into her car in his panic to reach the bunker, and apologizes. After she stitches up his injury, he talks about his estranged daughter Megan, showing her what he claims is a photo of her. Emmett and Michelle share with each other their biggest regrets: he lost the nerve to go to college, she never stopped running away “when things [got] hard” after an abusive childhood. For a time life in the bunker is tranquil: they solve puzzles, play board games, listen to music, and watch movies.
After what Howard believes to be airborne patrols pass over the bunker, the air ventilation system shuts down. Michelle, the only one small enough to fit, crawls through the vents to restart it. In the process, she discovers a second exit, with a bloody “HELP” scratched on the inside of the window and an earring beneath it. When she shows Emmett the photo of “Megan,” who is wearing the earring, he recognizes her as a girl named Brittany who went to high school with his younger sister and disappeared two years ago. Michelle realizes she can use the bunker’s shower curtain as the main component of a crude hazmat suit; Emmett plays on Howard’s fears of contamination to convince him to discard. They plan to steal his gun, tie him up, and head outside for help, but he notices the disappearance of the other materials they used for the suit. After he threatens them with a barrel of perchloric acid, Emmett claims that he alone was conspiring to take Howard’s gun to gain Michelle’s respect. Howard accepts his apology - and then coldly shoots him. As he attempts to console Michelle, it is clearer than ever that he sees her as a surrogate daughter.
Michelle completes the suit in secret, only for Howard to discover it after he notices a piece of it sticking out of her mattress and fly into a murderous rage. She badly injures him by knocking the barrel of acid into his path, which also eats into the power cord of a lamp and starts a fire that rapidly consumes the bunker. Michelle escapes through the vents, even as Howard tries to stab her with a knife. She climbs into his truck and is horrified when her suit tears. She repairs it in a panic, but a flock of birds flying overhead shows her the air is entirely breathable.
Before she can drive away, the bunker explodes, attracting the attention of an alien spaceship, which drops down a four-legged creature to hunt her. Howard’s truck refuses to start, and trying to open his neighbor’s car only sets off the alarm. She finds the neighbor dead in a shed and uses her keys to distract the monster; as she runs towards the house, the craft appears again, spraying toxic gas which ignites upon contact with the flames on the ground. She puts her mask back on just in time. The monster pursues her again as she tries to hide in the truck, only to withdraw as the ship lifts her up into towards its gaping maw. She combines the bottle of whiskey, which Howard recovered but didn’t have time to bring into the bunker, a lighter, and a map into a Molotov cocktail which she throws into the ship’s mouth, destroying it.
Leaving with the neighbor’s car, she picks up a transmission on the radio explaining that humanity has begun to turn the tide against the invaders. Survivors are to head for Baton Rouge, but anyone with combat or medical experience is encouraged to join the fight in Houston. After a moment of contemplation, she turns towards Houston. Lightning flashes, revealing two more ships overhead.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
- Written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
- Produced by J.J. Abrams, Lindsey Weber
- Executive Producing by Bryan Burk, Drew Goddard, Matt Reeves
- Music by Bear McCreary
- Cinematography by Jeff Cutter
- Edited by Stefan Grube
- Production Design by Ramsey Avery
- Assistant Directing by Jason Blumenfeld
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- John Goodman as Howard Stambler
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle
- John Gallagher Jr. as Emmett
- Douglas M. Griffin as Driver
- Suzanne Cryer as Woman
- Bradley Cooper as Ben (voice)
- Sumalee Montano as Voice on Radio (voice)
- Frank Mottek as Radio Broadcaster (voice)
Alternate Reality Game
10 Cloverfield Lane was filmed under the name Valencia, and its real title was not revealed until January 14, 2016, through a trailer attached to 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. The next day, fans found that the online store for Swamp Pop, a type of soda briefly featured in the trailer, contained a listing for a sold-out item called "Long-Term Shelter Supply." In addition, the product description quoted the song that played in the trailer, "I Think We're Alone Now," and every page of the online store contained the slogan "You Can't Drink Just Four," a reference to the Slusho drink that played a prominent role in Cloverfield's alternate reality game. Customers who purchased 4-packs of Swamp Pop through this store found that their orders came with three pieces of an Eiffel Tower puzzle.
On February 4, the long-dormant website for Tagruato Corp., created for the Cloverfield alternate reality game, updated with an Employee of the Month page including John Goodman's character Howard. Using the "Radioman 70" text on his shirt, fans were able to locate the site FunAndPrettyThings.com. Clicking on the still from Pretty in Pink and entering the password "Do You Want to Talk?" allows a reader to access messages sent by Howard to his daughter Megan.
The following week, 10 Cloverfield Lane trailers playing before Deadpool began displaying one of five images for a split-second. Fans who filmed the trailers concluded that the numbers spread throughout the images were meant to form coordinates, but were unable to capture the images clearly enough to read all of the numbers. On February 19th, the owner of the blog Cloverfield Clues discovered HD versions of the trailers uploaded on YouTube. Analysis of the now-legible images revealed the full set of numbers, as well as words from the NATO phonetic alphabet explaining the proper way to arrange them. Reddit user MugensKeeper followed the coordinates to a field in Covington, Louisiana, where he dug up an ammo box containing survival equipment, a message from Howard, the missing pieces to a puzzle in the film, and two flash drives containing multiple copies of an audio file concerning the coverup of a magnetic energy burst in space.
On February 21, FunAndPrettyThings.com updated with a text-based game called Bunker Survival. On February 26, Reddit user TheMagicJesus was able to persevere for over 1,000 days in the game, unlocking a message from Howard revealing the location of a cell phone stored in a private locker in Chicago. Reddit user helveticat was able to obtain the phone, which contained a voicemail message from John Goodman as Howard.
The final stage of the ARG began when Howard posted a message on FunAndPrettyThings.com complaining that his ex-wife Denise was selling a set of his English silverware online $500, far less than it was worth. Unfiction user Melodyman located the silverware in the Chicago antiques section on craigslist, and V37, from the same forum, was able to hold an extended conversation with "Denise" using the provided email. Throughout their exchange, she painted a much darker picture of Howard than he himself had suggested, foreshadowing the events of the film. After V37 showed her the FunAndPrettyThings.com site, she left an angry message for Howard.
On March 10, the release date of the movie, FunAndPrettyThings.com updated for the last time. A message from a former co-worker of Howard's, signed NR, provided a link to an audio file containing an image of an alien craft approaching Earth, encoded with the ssTV ham radio technique. Howard also left a new voicemail and outgoing message on the Chicago cell phone the same day: "It's my fault, I see that now. Now it's too late for you to leave Chicago. I was never going to see you again. You were my little girl, and it was my job to protect you. I failed. I'm going to make it up to you. I know how to make it right, I promise."
- Main article: 10 Cloverfield Lane/Gallery.
- Main article: 10 Cloverfield Lane (Soundtrack).
10 Cloverfield Lane has a 90% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 274 reviews. The site's Critical Consensus reads, "Smart, solidly crafted, and palpably tense, 10 Cloverfield Lane makes the most of its confined setting and outstanding cast -- and suggests a new frontier for franchise filmmaking."
Paramount DVD/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy (2016)
- Region: Various
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English, English audio description, Spanish, French (5.1 Surround; English has Atmos and TrueHD 7.1 options on the Blu-ray)
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
- Special Features: Audio commentary by director Dan Trachtenberg and producer J.J. Abrams, featurettes on the cast and direction (9 minutes), the bunker (4 minutes), Michelle's improvised radiation suit (2 minutes), car effects (4 minutes), digital effects at Kelvin Optical (6 minutes), music (7 minutes), and the task of creating a Cloverfield spin-off (3 minutes)
- Notes: All special features are exclusive to the Blu-ray. Audio and subtitle information are for the U.S. editions of the releases. The Blu-ray has also been packaged with Cloverfield and The Cloverfield Paradox.
- The first surprise trailers for Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane both played before films directed by Michael Bay: Transformers and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, respectively.
- J.J. Abrams arranged Bradley Cooper's cameo entirely through text messages. Cooper recorded his lines on his own phone.
- Most of J.J. Abrams' projects incorporate the word "Kelvin" as a tribute to his late grandfather, Henry Kelvin. In 10 Cloverfield Lane, as in Super 8 and The Cloverfield Paradox, it appears as the name of a gas station.
- A sign for Slusho, the beverage featured heavily in the alternate reality game for Cloverfield, appears at the gas station as well.
- Official 10 Cloverfield Lane Twitter account
- Official 10 Cloverfield Lane Facebook page
- Script by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, dated 4/11/12
- Swamp Pop ARG page
- Tagruato ARG site
- funandprettythings.com (click on the computer and type "do you want to talk?")
- Howard's survival simulator
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