10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
March 13, 2016 9:56 AM - Subscribe

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he's saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.
posted by maxsparber (35 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
What a screaming waste of two hours. So much unrealized potential, I don't know where to start. Basically I think the big problem is story utterly failed to deliver on _any_ of the drama it set up. Was Howard actually keeping them safe from an attack, or was he just abducting another woman and Emmet showed up at the wrong time? Quick, move along and maybe you won't notice the plot hitting the floor all around them!
posted by Kyol at 11:42 AM on March 13, 2016


More specifically I think it kept trying to maintain the tension by doing things that completely ruined it. If Michelle hadn't seen the outside world before seeing the remnants of Howard's "daughter", I think the creep level would have gone up - no, I'm saving you, she left on her own - and another discovery that puts that to question, then more denials and ramping it back down, and something definitive to push her over the edge to want to leave aaand she sees the outside world gone bad, but no maybe those are just rotting pigs Howard left out there in his rush to capture her and she tries again and then the woman and then the whole endgame sequence? But by going back and forth between motivations they both kind of turned ridiculously overplayed and under delivered.

I don't get why it's getting such great reviews.
posted by Kyol at 11:52 AM on March 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


i really liked it. the question was always, "Was Howard actually keeping them safe from an attack, *or* was he just abducting another woman..."

turned out, both.

For me, the final scene echoed back to Sara Conner heading south, which I think was me and not intentional . but it defs transformed Michelle from a victim to a hero.

the scene was a little flawed in that the radio announcement twice called for individuals with medical training, and we saw her being reluctant to stitch up Howard earlier - minor, to me.

Very good performances all around. I think Goodman's will be compared to William's in One Hour Photo - such a departure into wacko-ness.

I probably have more to say about this...
posted by j_curiouser at 12:02 PM on March 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


This movie was much, much better than I expected it to be. I had fairly low expectations going in, since they had said it was a Cloverfield cousin. John Goodman always does a good creepy villain. Plus I'm kinda claustrophobic - so the thought of climbing through duct work automatically gives me the heebie jeebies.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 12:02 PM on March 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


the scene was a little flawed in that the radio announcement twice called for individuals with medical training, and we saw her being reluctant to stitch up Howard earlier - minor, to me.

She was reluctant, but she did it and he said she did a good job. I kinda saw her thinking, "welp - I can sew a stitch, and now I have Molotov flinging experience......sally forth, me"
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 12:05 PM on March 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think the actual story is absolutely there. Howard was a survivalist and sort of lost his mind when his wife and daughter left him, and has since then been stealing surrogate daughters (one we know of, plus Michelle at the start of the story.) The fact that there is an alien attack is coincidental, and screwed up Howard's plans.

It explains a lot. It explains why Howard is sort of a shitty survivalist -- he has an air filtration unit but no mechanism for telling if the air is poison or not. It explains why he has an empty room with a lock and a bed in what is otherwise a really heavily stocked shelter. It explains why he doesn't seem all that prepared for years underground, with only a few games and a handful of videos for entertainment. And it explains why there is such a weird decorating scheme in the bunker -- homey, with children's stuff (like the shower curtain).

It also explains why he has a vat of acid hidden nearby to dispose of bodies, why he is so irritated at Emmet's presence, and why he uses the first pretext he can find to kill Emmet. The horror movie happening outside is just accidentally happening at the same moment as the one Howard is manufacturing inside the shelter, and one he has already acted out at least once.

I like that Michelle is immediately so scrappy, and yet he continues to underestimate her, literally infintalizing her during the party game, unable to conceive of her as anything other than a little girl. It was his fatal error, and I like that when Michelle gets away from him, well, she's ready. Spaceships? Blow them up. Combat and medical experience? She's got it.

It was a movie in which male entitlement was the real monster. Howard lost his daughter, and so he was just going to replace her, and the women he abducted were expected to be grateful and do what he wanted, and he expected he was just going to be in charge.
posted by maxsparber at 1:34 PM on March 13, 2016 [19 favorites]


I caught this opening night with my ladyfriend, and we both enjoyed it greatly, but it also left her filled with straight up deep-seated terror. So much of the film plays on the constant gender-driven antagonism of day to day life, cranked up to eleven. Waking up from an accident imprisoned in an unknown non-hospital place, Goodman as the hyper-entitled 'nice guy' who can't perceive other people as anything other than replacement possessions or obstacles and backing up his 'generosity' with volatile anger and violent outbursts, claustrophobic environments with no clear exit path... a collection of amplified aspects of the modern hazards and potential threats many women have to navigate on a daily basis.

It's also interesting to note that all the male figures in the film are varying levels of crap - her ex is a demanding possessive jerk in their phone call, Howard is a complete lunatic, even Emmett is at best a dumb (albeit sweethearted) sidekick to Michelle, with not much initiative on his own. And the radio call at the end organizing resistance to fight back against the disaster is a woman. (the woman trying to get into the shelter is an outlier - it's clear the gas attack has made her start to act very erratically and out of control, so not much read can be put on her normal 'persona')
posted by FatherDagon at 6:33 PM on March 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


If the alien invasion was supposed to be a twist, maybe they shouldn't have put "Cloverfield" in the title. It was a let-down. Plus what was obstructing the access door to the air filtration chamber? Oh, right, a major plot convolution.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:51 PM on March 13, 2016


If the alien invasion was supposed to be a twist, maybe they shouldn't have put "Cloverfield" in the title.

But.... but.... the original Cloverfield monster wasn't an alien.... he was very much a terrestrial creature... although very deep down in the crust, terrestrial.... at least if the viral marketing is to be believed as cannon. He didn't come from outer space - he came from the ocean depths, like Godzilla......
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 9:00 PM on March 13, 2016


I never saw Cloverfield, so I didn't really think about whether or how 10CL might be connected to it. I did straight up love this movie though, mostly for reasons that have already been mentioned. Howard is an evil creep but he was being honest when he said there was an attack. Why choose? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. And I love how resourceful Michelle is--and that she starts the movie driving away from one kind of crisis and ends it driving straight toward another. Definitely not the victim it looked like she might become at the beginning. Very empowering film.

I thought it was tense, clever, and impressive from start to finish. Very glad I saw it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:31 PM on March 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I just realized that this film is basically the origin story for Immortan Joe.
posted by maxsparber at 6:07 AM on March 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


"But.... but.... the original Cloverfield monster wasn't an alien.... he was very much a terrestrial creature... although very deep down in the crust, terrestrial.... at least if the viral marketing is to be believed as cannon. He didn't come from outer space - he came from the ocean depths, like Godzilla......"

I think you may have missed the post-credits scene. Or, at least, I think it was the post-credits scene.
posted by I-baLL at 7:51 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


IIRC, the thing crashing into the ocean in the Cloverfield post-credits scene was a human-built satellite or space probe. I think it was left somewhat ambiguous whether the crash "woke" the Cloverbaby or whether the Cloverbaby grew out of alien material on the probe.

I haven't seen 10CL yet, but I'm pretty excited about it. Also, if "Cloverfield" is going to be a sort of anthology of unconnected stories, I guess that Super 8 should be retroactively inducted into the club? It's definitely got the same "DNA", as JJ said about 10CL.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:49 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think you may have missed the post-credits scene.

That's entirely possible. That was the movie experience wherein I discovered I do not have the constitution for shaky-cam. I was as queasy as a dog after a chocolate binge.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 9:05 AM on March 14, 2016


I have watched the post credit sequence dozens of times and have never seen the falling satellite, although I am sure it is there. I may still be too sad about Hud to really pay attention.
posted by maxsparber at 9:10 AM on March 14, 2016


So I haven't seen this and this thread was my first realisation that it had been released (I just figured it was ages away), but I am perfectly happy to be spoiled so please spoil me: is this basically set during the Cloverfield incident from the first film (which I liked a lot), and the baddies are I guess probably the parasite creatures that the monster sheds?
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:25 PM on March 14, 2016


@turbid dahlia: It's kind of a spiritual sequel. Yes, there are aliens, but the story is primarily apart from them and when they do come up they're designed much differently (fewer insane limbs, more mouths in mouths in mouths). It's entirely possible that it's in the same universe as Cloverfield, but there's not much evidence one way or the other.
My opinion on the movie: very well-done, the lead kicked ass the entire way through (the more I think about her character arc the more I love it), and it left me profoundly uncomfortable afterwards. I just tried to sleep but couldn't stop imagining the scene with the vat, so here I am instead. I kinda wish the movie had a Hud analogue so that so much of the comedy didn't have to subside on nervous laughter, but there wasn't really a place in the plot for one, I suppose. I'm glad they broke so many of the rules from the first movie so that the series can evolve in nearly every direction (in that it wasn't found footage, there was a survivor, etc.)
When it comes to the radio broadcast scene, I'm almost certain she went for the combat experience. She just took down an alien fifty times her size with the contents of a truck she'd never been in (while conscious, at least)! She's the action movie hero we all need and deserve.
posted by brecc at 9:44 PM on March 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


The annoying "hey the word Cloverfield is in this too and you should be curious and that means something but we're not going to tell you what but just come see the movie" is why I long ago decided not to see the film but came in here for a summary. It is possibly the best case study of Abrams doing what he constantly does to put me off that I can imagine.
posted by phearlez at 9:47 AM on March 15, 2016


I'm another who had some doubts but enjoyed the film thoroughly. Loved the premise, loved the performances, loved the ending. It also functions as a case study in how a person can be very right about some big things, but very wrong in what they do about it.
posted by isthmus at 1:52 PM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ok so this might as well have been called 10 Arlington Road. Sounds fine but I will wait.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:11 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was entertained and saw the movie as more or less a metaphor for security in a post-9/11 world. More security really, really sucks--yes, you're secure, but you're sure as shit not free, and oh, by the way, the new reality is that security without freedom might actually be somewhat preferable because the world is really fucking scary. I would have preferred a bleaker ending leaving more ambiguous the question of which option we really might prefer under the circumstances.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


In retrospect a funny "fatherly figure" bit was Howard telling Michelle she better use the bathroom even though she didn't have to now, she would later... just like you would with a little kid.
posted by starman at 8:27 AM on March 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I caught this opening night with my ladyfriend, and we both enjoyed it greatly, but it also left her filled with straight up deep-seated terror. So much of the film plays on the constant gender-driven antagonism of day to day life

I had the exact same reaction to it. By far the creepiest moment for me, the one that gave me a kick of visceral terror, was Howard walking into Michelle's room after disposing of Emmet--with a freshly-shaved face.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:46 PM on March 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


the whisky...

glen: a deep valley
vag: you know
elin: Nordic variation of 'Helene', torch.

Glenvagelin.

heh.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:20 AM on March 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


the scene was a little flawed in that the radio announcement twice called for individuals with medical training

Yeah, I think the fact that she was like "hey I killed one of the fuckers with my own ingenuity, time to stop running away and start helping" was her responding to the call for those with combat experience. (Plus just the whole idea that she wanted to confront the terror instead of running, like with the abusive dad situation, would compel her to head toward the people who are fighting.)

I liked it! It was creepy/scary but not in a way that will keep me up all night, which so many horror movies do. Sheer entertainment. I like a movie that can be scary and legitimately goofy at the same time, especially since it makes things a bit more unsettling.

I agree about the terrifying gender-based violence. The fact that once Emmett is killed you realize she no longer has an accomplice and is alone is a moment that hit me hard, and not just because of the gunshot. I've noticed lately that even going outside, to a restaurant or to run errands by myself is so exposing compared to going with my boyfriend that I'm actually less and less willing to run out quickly on my own. It inevitably leads to sexualizing/demeaning comments, weird stares, creepy behavior in shops, etc. It wasn't that she needed Emmett to protect her, but having someone immune from the sexual/predatory attacks on her side was mildly reassuring...
posted by stoneandstar at 12:55 AM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I also thought the alternating between "is he crazy?" or "is this shit real?" was well done and not particularly full of plot holes? Maybe that is another particularly female message of the movie-- yes, things in the world are dangerous for humanity/women, but we don't need creepy-daddy or lovesick(?) saviors to wrongheadedly protect us from them. Or indeed, if they do help us, that doesn't entitle them to keep us in their weird frickin' bunker under their thumb.

(I guess it's debatable whether they could have pulled off an escape without Emmett throwing himself on his sword, but nonetheless, she wasn't particularly thrilled that he decided to martyr himself!)

I could have done without the acid vat/shooting situation, but the movie was fairly realistic about the psycho killer MO and I guess vats of acid are a part of that game.

And just in general, I thought the tension was well-played. Even though from the title it seemed likely that there was something outside, it's unclear what the magnitude of it is, or how much of a set up it is, or whether John Goodman has a thousand bunkers with a thousand prisoners in them and the crazy face lady is just one of them, or any number of possible explanations. I like that it's messy and it's not just about a victim with Stockholm Syndrome who sews an insane rubber duckie hazmat suit.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:03 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I loved this movie.

Ignore the name; it has nothing to do with Cloverfield and, from my point of view, stands on its own. Maxsparber's comment above as well as FatherDagon's comment hit it on the nose: this is a tense, psychological-thriller more than a horror thriller. I went in with no expectations of it having anything but the flimsiest connection to the Cloverfield universe (e.g. Slusho!)

The writeup in The Verge about how this movie is fundamentally about abuse rings true to me. I actually liked this way more than Cloverfield.
posted by danhon at 2:16 PM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I also agree with maxsparber. This was a fun, suspenseful movie. I had one moment of dread when Michelle was fighting the alien outside - I feared she would then have to return to the bunker, dissolve the rest of John Goodman, and take up residence there. I was so relieved when it blew up on its own (I think?), and she drove away.

The Verge review says that lots of people are complaining about the ending, but I really liked the fact that this was a slice of life of a creep intersected with an alien invasion film. We live in a world where creepy guys keeping women prisoners in their homes really happens. When aliens attack, it's not like the creeps disappear. As others have said, the gender/power imbalance is what made this a scary movie for me. But seeing Michelle not give up even when she escapes one monster only to find herself the target of another was super empowering, and kept me from having nightmares afterward. (I also kept in mind that this was a PG-13 movie, so they weren't going to show people do too terrible things to each other).
posted by bluefly at 7:44 PM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well I'm now retroactively terrified of all John Goodman films

I did like how she was like, act five final girl from frame one. No air gap between "I'm trapped" and "AND I AM MURDERING MY WAY OUT OF HERE"
posted by The Whelk at 2:09 PM on March 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


Saw this yesterday, it's pretty good. Given the Cloverfield name, it would have been a letdown if the resolution turned out to be mundane. One thing I would have done differently is I think one alien menace would have been enough for the final confrontation.

Also I've been playing XCOM2 and I'm in an alien-fighting mood, can we please get a sequel with the resistance fighting the alien invasion?
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:18 AM on April 2, 2016


Finally saw this and absolutely loved. John Goodman was excellent of course, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead really brought it home as the lead. Her character was written as smart and Winstead portrayed that fantastically. Right from the get go, before we even see him, Howard is obviously a creep, Michelle sees it and reacts accordingly. Sure, she she lets her guard down a bit after seeing the woman from outside. But she's smart and at the first sign of Howards fuckupness, she's back to planning to get the fuck out.

So often in horror films, the female lead is barely capable, nice to see a change. Her matter of fact exception that an alien attack was indeed happening was perfect, along with her resourcefulness.

I hope Michelle runs into Furiousa while on the road, they'd be a great pair.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know, that's a pairing I don't think we've seen: stone badass and relentlessly resourceful improviser, could work out pretty well.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:36 PM on April 4, 2016


One thing I would have done differently is I think one alien menace would have been enough for the final confrontation.

+1. And maybe a little less CGI. It was a little jarring to go from the very realistic monster of John Goodman to the very digital aliens.
posted by bluefly at 6:53 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Which was perfect, IMO, because meeting an alien would be jarring. Hell, pretty much anything would be jarring after being underground in a bunker for a while.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on April 8, 2016


I really had fun for the first half or so when the story was "Is Howard telling the truth or not?" I would have been good with wondering if he killed his family, or had delusions about his family, and I think my imagination would have been enough to fill in the blanks once Emmet died. By it I was just really disappointed that it kind of turned into a different movie, one I've seen before many times. The whole situation is creepy, there was no need to turn Howard into a literal creep, IMO.

I didn't find any of that part scary, I found it distracting and it took me places that had nothing to do with the premise (in my mind, at least.) I was also meh on the last act; I would have been really happy with the movie ending with her opening the hatch and seeing something in the sky, out in the distance. Without knowing what it as it would still leave the door open to questioning Howard. (I didn't see Cloverfield, though.)

By far the creepiest moment for me, the one that gave me a kick of visceral terror, was Howard walking into Michelle's room after disposing of Emmet--with a freshly-shaved face.

I agree, but this is where it felt like I sat on the remote and flipped to an Ashely Judd thriller.

More security really, really sucks--yes, you're secure, but you're sure as shit not free, and oh, by the way, the new reality is that security without freedom might actually be somewhat preferable because the world is really fucking scary. I would have preferred a bleaker ending leaving more ambiguous the question of which option we really might prefer under the circumstances.

I guess as a woman I'm in a fortunate minority in that I'm not generally fearful so I think this is what I was enjoying. Because I know the gender dynamic is real it just felt out of place in this context. Being a woman trapped alone with batshit John Goodman could be a terrifying movie on its own, but I wanted this to remain a psychological thriller -- my favorite kind -- is what I think I'm trying to say.

So my basic complaint is that this seemed like three separate movies: questioning your sanity in claustrophobic conditions horror, young-woman-in-danger thriller, and alien invasion sci-fi.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:08 AM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


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