10 Cloverfield Lane

500 Days Of Film Reviews 10 Cloverfield Lane And Finds An Intense Mystery That Will Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat 


After a shocking car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself  trapped in an underground bunker.


Her captor, a mysterious and unsettling man called Howard Stambler (John Goodman), explains that the world has come under attack and everyone outside of the bunker has died.


Far from kidnapping and imprisoning her, he claims to have saved her life. 


Michelle soon discovers that she is not the only resident in Howard’s underground cavern. There is another man called Emmett (John Gallagher Jr) living there with them.


Who can Michelle trust? Is Howard telling the truth? Or is he a paranoid psychopath? Has the world been attacked? If so, are the attackers human or something altogether alien? 

Is It Any Good?

Surprises are so rare in cinema these days.


Long before a film’s release, we hear all about the story, the characters and the themes involved. Then we get the first of several trailers that largely reveal the whole plot and feature a film’s ‘best bits’. 


I think that we can all agree that this situation is far from ideal. Audiences and filmmakers alike are left feeling frustrated that marketing campaigns are ruining film experiences left, right and centre. 


Not so with the intensely enjoyable 10 Cloverfield Lane. The marketers behind this mysterious movie have played an extremely smart game. We should, of course, expect no less from producer JJ Abrams.


No one knew anything about 10 Cloverfield Lane until this enigmatic trailer was released just a few months ahead of the film’s cinematic release.



The less you know about 10 Cloverfield Lane the more you will enjoy this film (fyi there are no spoilers in this review). 


I went into this film knowing only what I had gleaned from the (brilliant) trailer. I also understood that the movie was part of the same spiritual space as JJ Abrams’ Cloverfield (having seen both films, I would suggest that you do not have to watch Cloverfield first if you do not wish to).


From the moment the film began, I loved 10 Cloverfield Lane's dark and twisted mysteriousness. I so enjoyed trying to work out what was going on and who could be trusted. This movie drew me in within seconds and kept me on the edge of my seat until the credits rolled.


Throughout 10 Cloverfield Lane, I was aware of feeling incredibly tense. This was not just down to suspense about the nature of the events outside but also due to an intense feeling of claustrophobia from being trapped inside Howard's bunker.




Mary Elizabeth Winstead is brilliant as Michelle. She is intelligent, resourceful and feisty (yay!). Meanwhile, John Gallagher Jr. is likeable and provides much of the film’s comic relief. And yet, as I warmed to him, I still wondered: can we trust him, what exactly is his role in this bunker?


However, 10 Cloverfield Lane works because of John Goodman's performance as Howard. I just did not know what to make of him - is he telling the truth about the outside world? Is he a mentally unstable conspiracy theorist? Why did he ‘save’ Michelle? What if he is right?


Goodman is just superb. The brilliance of his portrayal lies in his ability to seem like a monster one minute and a well meaning, lost and lonely man the next. Regardless, the threat of real violence simmers just below his surface and this injects tension and breath-holding suspense into every scene. 

Come Down The Rabbit Hole?

There is nothing like a mystery to get the internet whirling like a dervish and, as with the original Cloverfield, JJ Abrams has utilised the power of viral marketing to whip up anticipation and excitement for his new film.


For example, a false company called The Tagruato Corporation (created for Cloverfield) recently updated its website to include a new employee of the month - and that employee looks a lot like John Goodman! 



Eager for clues, interweb detectives noticed that Howard is wearing a Radioman 70 t-shirt in this picture. They worked out that if typing radioman70.com into your browser takes you to a website called funandprettythings.com.


This site comprises a collage of several 'pretty' things. One of the pictures on the site is of the alphabet. However, some of the alphabet's letters are missing. Put the missing letters together and they spell a girl’s name - Megan. 




Meanwhile, if you click on the image of the computer screen and enter the pass-phrase: Do You Want To Talk? you can access some of Howard’s personal (and deeply disturbing) messages to Megan.


There is also an option to leave a message but I could not. The site requires that I prove I am Megan by typing in what secret gift Howard gave her for her 13th birthday. And I can’t for the life of me figure that one out!




In addition, if you look at the html code on funandprettythings.com (right click on the page and then click ‘Inspect’) a creepy message appears in the code:


"Megan would never come here.

I know who you are and will be tracking you."


You can go even further down this rabbit hole if you so desire and a quick online search shows that people certainly are - it is quite amazing to see how far they are willing to go to solve the mystery.


10 Cloverfield Lane is a gripping and thrilling movie featuring powerful performances from its cast.

Now that I know what happens in this film, I just can’t wait to watch it all over again.


Random Observations

The phone call that Michelle receives at the beginning of the film (from someone called Ben) is voiced by Bradley Cooper.


I spent a lot of the movie trying to place where I had seen Emmett before… then I realised that he was being played by John Gallagher Jr. who I really enjoyed in the TV series Newsroom.


I will never be able to listen to Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now without feeling creeped out!


Have you seen 10 Cloverfield Lane? If so what did you think of this movie?


Let me know by leaving a comment in the box below!

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones

E: jane@500daysoffilm.com


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