10 Cloverfield Lane is not a sequel to 2008's Cloverfield , or so we've been told. Despite the hype that comes with having "Cloverfield" in the title, producer J.J. Abrams, whose company Bad Robot is behind both films, has firmly insisted that the two are not a Part 1 and a Part 2. "It's not the continuation of the story that people might think of, but it was so clearly associated," Abrams said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly . Given that the new film isn't a sequel to the 2008 monster movie hit, it's fair to wonder whether or not you need to see Cloverfield before 10 Cloverfield Lane .
Any Cloverfield fanatic will tell you that you absolutely have to see the original before buying your ticket to 10 Cloverfield Lane. Not for the sake of plot continuity or for fear of being lost, but for the small, microscopic details on things like what caused the monster to emerge in Cloverfield and what company might have been involved. These kinds of small details actually don't have anything to do with the larger plot in Cloverfield, but, as with any cult film, fans have spent years agonizing over any small clue or detail in the film, looking for more insight into its mythology. If you don't know the source material, how are you going to spot the extra clues or nods in 10 Cloverfield Lane ?
Now, that's all well and good, but if you're just someone looking to see a fun, suspenseful movie, then it is absolutely not necessary to see Cloverfield before 10 Cloverfield Lane. What small connections there are between the films are likely too tiny to notice unless you're actively looking for them. But, you don't have to take my word for it — take Abrams'. In his interview with EW, Abrams made clear that 10 Cloverfield Lane is not Cloverfield 2 , saying, "Those characters and that monster are not in this movie, but there are other characters and other monsters."
Putting aside what few plot details the films share, the fact is that Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane are completely different movies. In fact, 10 Cloverfield Lane was originally titled "The Cellar" and was written as a completely self-contained story by Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken. It wasn't until Bad Robot acquired the script that it was molded into a movie connected to Cloverfield. Ultimately, according to Abrams, what the films share is "the DNA of the story" — apocalyptic situations, dark humor, an unknown threat, etc. With that in mind, the feel of the new film is extremely different, as is the shooting style. While Cloverfield made a name for itself as a found footage extravaganza, full of shaky cams and first person perspectives, 10 Cloverfield Lane is much more traditionally shot. In fact, most of the camera work in 10 Cloverfield Lane is steady, a stark contrast to the 2008 film.
All in all, any connection between 10 Cloverfield Lane and Cloverfield is not crucial to the value of either film. Both can stand on their own, to be enjoyed separately or together. That said, seeing Cloverfield before 10 Cloverfield Lane can only add to the experience.
Bottom line: Cloverfield is a traditional monster movie, whereas 10 Cloverfield Lane is more like a thriller with a monster in it. It's up to you whether you want to connect those monsters or not.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (2)