10 Cloverfield Lane

MV5BMjEzMjczOTIxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTUwMjI3NzE@._V1__SX1859_SY893_Friday was movie day, as occasionally comes around. And unexpectedly, 10 Cloverfield Lane was the new movie of the weekend. I’d been interested in this since I heard about it, and the lone preview I’ve seen helped that interest along, so.

Short answer: I liked it. But, here’s the problem with naming your movie after Cloverfield[1]: if the new movie is a direct sequel or shared universe sequel or prequel of the original, then the tension of the unknown is greatly reduced by this knowledge. Yet, by contrast, if the new movie is not directly related in some way to the original, then you’ve squandered this reduction in tension for no apparent reason. Or, even worse, tried to trick people into thinking they should be worried about the tension of the unknown when they shouldn’t be. No matter which thing is going on, my real point is this: if your audience is sitting there thinking about relationships to other movies and whether they make sense or even exist instead of fully paying attention to the movie you made, probably the title should be different.[2]

In a valiant attempt to avoid spoilers, I’m not saying which of those possibilities occurred, but I’m definitely saying I was thinking about this more than I would have liked. Especially because, late act revelations that the movies are linked or not, this one easily had the legs to stand on its own. The first 5-10 minutes in a nutshell: The second most successful alumnus of the old NBC soap opera Passions wakes up to find herself chained up in a fallout bunker by creepy John Goodman, but the good news is that “chained up in a fallout bunker by creepy John Goodman” is currently the safest place she could possibly be, because the world is ending. Just ask creepy John Goodman!

Who wouldn’t want to watch that movie, I ask you? I’ll tell you a movie you probably haven’t seen that this was a spiritual successor to: After.Life. Man, I should watch that again. For at least two three reasons.

[1] Really, after any previous movie whose tension relied in part on the unknown; this point is broadly applicable.
[2] Or else if you did it on purpose to get people into seats and that’s the only reason, you are a bad person who should feel bad.

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