Newest “Cloverfield” bunkers plot with intrigue

“10 Cloverfield Lane” serves as a sinister sequel to the 2008 action-horror film “Cloverfield.”

Grace Gibney, Writer

As someone who tends to steer clear of horror and suspense-type films, I was surprised when “10 Cloverfield Lane” left me feeling intrigued.

Not for the Claustrophobic

This film is not for those who struggle with claustrophobia, as female protagonist Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, holds out in an underground bunker with two men: Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr., and Howard, played by John Goodman.

At first, Michelle denies the world above in rural Louisiana has been affected by a widespread chemical attack. She recalls Howard’s truck sideswiping her own as she was traveling along the Louisiana highway, and she begins to believe she was kidnapped by Howard and forced underground. However, after witnessing a woman outside the shelter dying from the disease, Michelle comes to terms with the reality of the bunker’s safety and resides with her newfound survivor friends.

Danger and Mystery

Soon, safety drifts into uncertainty. Michelle learns that even while residing many feet below ground, danger and mystery festers within her in the confines of the bunker’s walls.

The film is shot from a perspective that immerses the audience in the setting’s tight confines. The cinematography embraces many close-ups on Michelle’s face in scenes where she ponders the shelter’s walls. The film’s emphasis on sound presents an aspect of mystery to the shelter’s atmosphere. The audience experiences the sounds of the air filtration system sustaining the bunker’s occupants, the warning of footsteps tromping down metal stairs and the eerie lightness drifting from old tunes played in a jukebox in the living room.

An Overarching Storyline

However, when considering the dynamics behind “10 Cloverfield Lane,” it is not merely the film itself that ought to be taken into consideration. Instead, audience members should consider how the film is just one piece that fits into an overarching storyline that has been long in the works.

J.J. Abrams had something up his sleeve when he produced the first “Cloverfield” movie in 2008. Audiences who flocked to see the then popular “Transformers” films were shocked when a mysterious trailer for a movie without a title appeared without prior notice. The film’s allure drew a curious audience that paid off at the box office — “Cloverfield” earned $170.8 million against its $25 million budget when it debuted, according to Rolling Stone.

Abrams’ Hand at Work

Now, fresh off his success with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the highest grossing film in box office history, Abrams is back at it again as producer with the surprise trailer releases. “10 Cloverfield Lane’s” trailer premiered on January 14, just two months before the movie’s release date on March 11, a move previously unknown to film critics and movie-goers nationwide.

With these considerations in mind, the film is worth watching for its underlying intrigue. Interestingly enough, though both films have different directors, their storylines uniquely coincide. “10 Cloverfield Lane” originally contained its own unique plot rewritten to add connections tied to the original “Cloverfield” film.

Unique Intersection

If you have seen the original “Cloverfield” film, you will recall the film’s plot consists of a band of friends pitted together for survival as a mysterious creature destroys their home in New York. Though the setting of “10 Cloverfield Lane” takes the audience underground into the confines of three characters in a bunker, you will find the plots of both films uniquely intersect by the time the credits begin to roll. Only a mastermind producer like Abrams can tie together across the span of eight years between the films’ respective release dates.

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