The term “sequel” actually has a broader meaning than you might have once assumed. 10 Cloverfield Lane is proof of that. The science fiction thriller produced by J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company has clear ties to the 2008 film Cloverfield, even though the movies take place in different settings, at different times, and feature two unique sets of main characters. The differences really are many: Cloverfield takes place in New York City; 10 Cloverfield Lane is a country cousin, with the events playing out underneath a Louisiana farmhouse. Cloverfield features an ensemble cast of 20-something friends; 10 Cloverfield Lane is pretty much a three-hander. Cloverfield feels epic almost all the way through; 10 Cloverfield Lane is like coming down with cinematic cabin fever. And yet, the movies do share a distinctive name for a reason. Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane are similar, thematically and otherwise.
Haven’t seen these movies yet? Stop right here. There’s a hard spoiler alert in effect for the list below. I’m going to break down the major points of connection between the original Cloverfield and the movie that Abrams told Fandango is a “spiritual successor” to the first. Plot points will be spilled ahead, so please beware. Here are seven ways in which Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane are more alike than not.
1. Young Protagonists
The cast of the original Cloverfield film includes Deadpool's T.J. Miller and Masters Of Sex star Lizzy Caplan as a group of friends sending their buddy off to a new job adventure in Japan. The heroine of 10 Cloverfield Lane is Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who could have easily fit in with that crowd...if they hadn't all been flattened by the giant sea monster.
2. Hidden Monsters
Both Cloverfield movies save the straight-on creature shots for the final act of the film. And they certainly didn't give away the goods in any of the promotional images or videos.
3. Dark Humor
It's not excessive, but it's there. These are monster movies. They're supposed to be fun.
Perhaps this one goes without saying. People die. People bleed. Sometimes there's corrosive acid. Sometimes there's a graphic homage to the most famous scene and grotesque scene in Alien.
5. Alliances & Teamwork
Well, 10 Cloverfield Lane's Howard might be wary of using either of those words. But the fact is that the disasters in both movies require characters to band together in new ways. And, especially in the case of this new film, that tentative trust can lead to regret.
6. Humanity Fighting Back
What, like humans were just going to lie down and take it? The first Cloverfield shows military action taking place to bring down the monster. 10 Cloverfield Lane just references it, but the last shot shows Michelle speeding towards a gathering point that she hears about on the radio.
7. Viral Marketing
Bad Robot loves theirs Easter Eggs. I was hugely invested in the marketing campaign for the first Cloverfield , which included Myspace profiles for the characters, press releases, and news reports that tie the activities of fictional Japanese mining company Tagruato to the growth of the monster. The 10 Cloverfield Lane promotional machine continued that process, linking Howard (John Goodman) to that company and suggesting that those monsters were perhaps the next biological phase of the Cloverfield species.
Will the saga continue in another Cloverfield movie? As far as I'm concerned, the invasion is far from over.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (6)