Way back in 2007 Bad Robot (J.J. Abrams’ production company) put an unlabeled trailer in front of Transformers. That trailer was for the movie that eventually was named Cloverfield, and it blew my mind that anyone managed to make giant monster movie I hadn’t heard about.
Today Bad Robot has another unexpected trailer in front of a Michael Bay movie, but this time it has a title. It’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, and it’s coming out in March. The trailer is wonderfully creepy, though the effectiveness may be undercut a bit by the fact that the overall premise and even some of the specific imagery was coincidently used in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. (10 Cloverfield Lane was shot a while ago, as evidenced by John Goodman’s appearance. He’s a lot thinner now.)
The big question is whether 10 Cloverfield Lane is related to Cloverfield, in terms of story. 10 Cloverfield Lane hasn’t been quite as well kept a secret as Cloverfield was before its first teaser, so we know that premise of the movie is that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in a car accident, and she wakes up in a bunker with strangers (John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr.) who tell her that some disaster has befallen the outside world. I suppose that could be a giant monster, or even the same giant monster, but probably not. Judging from statements Abrams has made, they’re using the “Cloverfield” name to signify a certain kind of B-movie. Fair enough.
Absurd over-analysis of the trailers was part of the fun of the original Cloverfield, so what can we tell from this trailer? It appears 10 Cloverfield Lane takes place in the present day, because Winstead has an iPhone. We can also tell that the trailer is probably edited way out of order: the scenes with Winstead shackled to the bed and on crutches are from the beginning of the movie, and most of the other scenes are from later. There’s also another subtle clue for putting scenes in order: Winstead’s nail polish. When she’s on the bed you can see her nails are fully painted black, but in other scenes her nails have grown and the polish has flaked off to varying degrees.
The bunker looks like it was furnished in the 1980s, though the jukebox featured so prominently is a Rowe CD100C, which as far as I can tell is from the 1990s. (I’m pretty sure it’s the same jukebox that was playing “Things in Life” in Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express.) There’s also a VHS tape on display, though I can’t make sense of the title. “Cannes Al Airlines” is what it looks like to me. A CGI modification to obscure some reference, maybe? It looks a bit like the cover to The People Under the Stairs.
So has John Goodman’s character been living down there the whole time? Probably not, because he couldn’t convince Winstead of a sudden disaster she has to avoid if that’s that case. But it certainly seems like someone was maintaining and stocking the bunker over a long period of time.
If my assumptions are correct, Winstead tries to flee the bunker twice, once at the beginning of the movie, when she’s on crutches and she sees light streaming out of the window in the door, and a second time when she successfully opens the door at night. Looking at that second time, it looks a lot like you can see a lit building outside the bunker.
In the trailer, this shot immediately followed by a shot of Winstead looking shocked, but that extreme closeup could be completely out of context (and looking at her nail polish, it may be from earlier in the movie). It can’t be that simple though, could it? That nothing has happened? How do we explain the tremors earlier in the trailer?
In any case, I’m really looking forward to 10 Cloverfield Lane. I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead, I love John Goodman in full bastard mode, and I love these kinds of high concept B-movies.