MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU ARE YET TO SEE 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE………..
Well last night I finally managed to catch the long awaited sequel (well a loosely based) to the much loved Monster smash Cloverfield and if you haven’t seen it yet, then you are missing out on what is no doubt one of 2016’s best films.
10 Cloverfield Lane is an almighty beast of a movie. So far removed from the high octane effects of the found footage original, the follow up is a film that even Hitchcock himself would have been proud of. With a basic premise of three total strangers living in an underground bunker, first time director Dan Trachtenberg shows a deft hand of a long time pro, has he somehow manages to milk every ounce of tension from its most tiniest of scenes, all thanks to the three actors who know they are doing something special here.
While there are monsters outside, lurking in the skies above, the film brilliantly demonstrates how such evil could also lurk in evil human form, as Jon Goodman is simply sensational as the unhinged Howard who believes he is doing “good” but in reality is a deranged psychopath that anyone near him, should run away quite quickly, which is hard if there is nowhere to go.
But the star of the show and the one character that just blew me away was Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who after the credits roll, you are just desperate to see where the roads take her.
And that is the beauty of 10 Cloverfield, unwittingly they have may given birth to a potential female icon that could match the heroic film history of such a legend like Ellen Louise Ripley who for many years battled the acid foaming A L I E N in vast outer space. While many fans have been waiting for a new woman to take over the mantle of a space warrior, a film that never intentionally set out to be a mini sequel to Cloverfield, could well have given us that heroine.
Mary’s Michelle has been given a brilliant origin story, a woman who regrets many things, but as soon as she awakes from inside that bunker, she is ready to face anything that is thrown at her. Even when the brief respite of comfort ends when the truth emerges, she doesn’t quiver, doesn’t cry, just a determination to fight and survive, and the fact she not only kills the one evil predator from within the bunker, but also defends herself against the unknown alien predator on land, the film shows us the viewer a journey of how a woman becomes this fighter, a potential ally that this Earth needs.
The original ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane was a little bit different.
“In the original script, Michelle escapes the shelter and is chased through the farmhouse by Howard, who still wants to “protect” her. She blinds him with bathroom cleaner, he tells her about his tragic life (dead wife, missing daughter, treacherous Nate, etc.), and then she shoots him in the kneecap and runs away. He ends the movie alive, entreating Michelle to “be careful.” Later, after traveling down empty roads and finding no one around to help her, she crests a hill and sees the Chicago skyline, smouldering and destroyed. No explanation is given. We don’t even know what she will do next; only that she now knows that Howard, for all his oddity, was correct. The final line in the script is, “She slowly pulls down the mask on the hazmat suit before taking a breath.” Collider
If the studio stuck with that ending, then we would have had a total different film. Howard would have been given some kind of redemption and the final shot would have been ambiguous, and while I have no doubt the film would have still been a fantastic watch, the added reshoots to tie in with the Cloverfield brand, has made it an even more enjoyable experience.
The end we know of is a lot more empowering, with Michelle fighting off the murderous Howard and then facing an Earth which if its believed, has been taking over by Aliens, which sort of made Howard right, but his brutal murder of Emmett, offers no forgiveness or his actions with that knife, while she was hiding in the air ducts.
10 Cloverfield Lane makes us share the journey of Michelle, from car crash victim to an Alien bounty hunter and when the film reaches its final shot and she is listening to the radio and help is needed in Houston while evacuation is taking place in Baton Rogue and we see that she chooses to head to Houston, how many of us were screaming at the film not to end.
JJ Abrams may not have known it, director Dan Trachtenberg may not have seen it, but they have created a franchise potential here to make Michelle into a next generation Ripley. With fantastic reviews, and a box office success, lets hope us fans get to see where that road takes Michelle because make no mistake, if you a SCI-FI fan, then the new found Cloverfield franchise is something to marvel that.