Even though it won't be a found footage movie like Cloverfield, the film's upcoming pseudo-sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane, is bound to scare the bejeezus out of its audiences. The movie's release comes with the usual amount hype surrounding a J.J. Abrams production (has this dude slept in the past five years?), and in true Abrams fashion, the trailers offer little information about the story, but allow viewers to piece together the basics: 10 Cloverfield Lane takes place in a bunker, focuses on three different characters, and, oh yes, has a serious monster. Theories about the 10 Cloverfield Lane monster abound, but perhaps no one will get it right until they step inside the theater.
"There is a monster in this movie. It’s not the monster you expect, but there is a monster," Abrams says in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. "The thing that I will say about anyone who is going to it expecting to see literally Cloverfield 2, those characters and that monster are not in this movie, but there are other characters and other monsters." Fans and "experts" everywhere are offering their theories about the Cloverfield Lane monster, but only time will tell if any of us have gotten it right. Here are two of the best.
Theory #1: John Goodman Is The Monster
I mean, just look at him here! Io9 dissected the trailer and concluded that John Goodman's character, a man "protecting" two other people inside of the aforementioned bunker, is probably the monster this time around. Said writer Katharine Trendacosta,
We first see Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a nighttime car crash, followed by a shot of her running away from a car. It’s probably safe to say that she’s running from a “rescue” by John Goodman.
Immediately, the filmmakers establish a power imbalance between a woman and a captor assumed to be a man based upon the rest of trailer's content. Said Trendacosta,
Goodman grabs her in one scene and then we get a separate one of him pounding the wall and yelling. “I knew this day would come. It’s not safe out there,” Goodman’s voiceover has been saying up to this point.
Winstead’s character appears to have gotten into some sort of car accident, and when she awakens she finds herself chained to a bed in Goodman’s underground shelter. She is strongly advised not to go outside, but this being a horror movie, avoiding confrontation is not in the cards.
Winstead is hostage to this behavior. With their images of gendered captivity, the trailers suggest the heroine might undergo obstacles similar to those of Brie Larson in Room and fight off Goodman's character to make her escape and reclaim her agency. Considering misogyny is a very real part of many women's lives, it would make sense for the movie to feature a very humanly flawed monster.
Theory #2: Winstead Is The Monster
Hear me out on this one. New pictures of 10 Cloverfield Lane made their way onto the web this week that almost confirm Goodman as the villain — he looks mighty lecherous and threatening, and would certainly spook me out if I ran into him in a post-apocalypse underground bunker. But if you know anything about J.J. Abrams, it's that you don't know anything about his work until you actually watch it. The guy loves plot twists and executes them better than anyone else.
Here's what I am envisioning: Goodman is a totally zonked-out scientist who goes underground at the end of the last movie. Because he was in on the chemical accident that resulted in the first movie's monster, he's aware of how dangerous the above-ground atmosphere has become. He saves Winstead's character from certain doom and hides her. The Abrams plot-twist: Winstead is already infected by the chemicals. As the movie unfolds, Goodman recognizes her symptoms and grows more and more fearful of the havoc she could unleash.
Either one of these theories would follow Abrams' trend of creating complicated and strong female characters like Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If films like Alien and Scream are any sort of indication, the horror heroine film usually kicks the last butt, so Cloverfield viewers could be in for a feminist treat.
images: Giphy; Paramount Pictures