The big mystery in 10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t much of a mystery. The name Cloverfield refers to a rather horrible monster movie that J.J. Abrams made a few years back. That was a lost footage film about New York being destroyed by a number of odd critters from space. So it follows that this film will be set in the same universe as that one. But we have left New York City for a farm in Louisiana.
The bulk of 10 Cloverfield Lane sees a woman who finds herself hostage in a crazy man’s fallout shelter. John Goodman does a good job of acting both totally insane and sort of reasonable. You can’t go out there, the world you knew is gone, we’re all that’s left in the world. So, is he telling the truth or he is just some random crazy? Well, turns out he’s a bit of both.
For the most part, it’s a story ripped out of an episode of Special Victim’s Unit. Our hero is a young woman trapped by an older man. He also has another man in the basement, fallout shelter, a fellow that used to work on the farm. We watch as they spent their days eating the canned food and playing old board games and putting together jigsaw puzzles. The two young people plot together to get away from the old man, in hopes that maybe the world outside isn’t really as bad he makes it sound.
Near the end, she escapes and finds her way into the larger world. She sees that it is pretty bad as aliens zero in on her and try to eat her. She defeats one alien with a Molotov Cocktail. As she drives down empty roads, she picks up a radio broadcast on a loop that says people in Houston are fighting back. Roll credits.
10 Cloverfield Lane was not a great movie, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve watched recently either. It did have a kind of Twilight Zone feel to it, with the real story being hidden, just not hidden very well. It reminded me a bit of From Dusk Til Dawn, where the story takes a hard right from a crime drama to a vampire horror show. And if Cloverfield has nothing to do with it, why put that in the title?