I shall be going down 10 Cloverfield Lane, mapping out its lines and surveying its turns to discover if we should hit that road or if it’s or a dead-end. So read on only if you’ve already seen 10 Cloverfield Lane, or don’t plan to.
[Note: my copy included an introductory splash screen, so listed times might be off by 2 seconds or more.]
0:02:38 A young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle) hastily packs a box of her belongings and leaves her wedding ring on the table. Either she’s leaving her husband or proposing to her furniture.
While she’s putting petrol in her motorcar, a large truck stops in front of her. The music is telling us this is the vehicle that will give her that run-down feeling.
0:04:54 While she’s driving, someone named Ben (Bradley Cooper!) calls her on her hands-free phone and tells her couples fight and she should go back to him. She hangs up on him without saying a word. I suppose this means she’s…phone-y.
0:05:32 While listening to news of massive power outages along the coast, Ben calls back and her car is hit so hard that she sees the opening credits.
0:06:54 When she comes to, she’s chained by her leg to a basement wall and hooked up to an IV. I’ve had some fantasies that come close to this…
0:09:31 Michelle tears out her IV and uses the pole it hangs from to pull her mobile to her. Unfortunately, like an alcoholic in Utah, she can’t get any bars.
0:10:47 Howard (a very convincing John Goodman) enters the cellar with a tray of food. He ignores her pleas for release and informs her he’s going to keep her alive, but doesn’t say what for.
I’m sorry, but no one is looking for you.
Howard throws Michelle the key to her cuffs along with this comment.
0:13:02 When I saw this film in the cinema, the tension of seeing a young woman in her underwear chained to a pipe and locked in a stranger’s cellar had me more tense than a gay man in an Irani bathhouse.
0:14:42 After whittling her crutch tip to a point with a key (and not sharpening it against the cinder block wall like someone who wanted to kill more than time would’ve done), Michelle starts a fire in an air vent so that Howard will have to enter her cell, where she can attack him. He fends her off easily, however, and gives her a shot to knock her out faster than Ronda Rousey fighting Holly Holm.
There’s been an attack. … A big one. I’m not sure yet if it’s chemical or nuclear, but down here we’re safe.
Howard explains why they live in the cellar but sounds more deluded than a Trump supporter.
0:18:47 Loud noises rise from outside Michelle’s room. Either they’re not alone in the bunker, or the mice are big enough to take on both Mickey and Minnie.
0:19:58 Michelle wakes up to the sound of a truck driving on the ground above the cedar and to find her bedroom door open. She walks out of the bunker to the tune of Frankie Avalon’s “Venus” and meets Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) who lives behind the shelves and is reassuringly non-rapey.
[The complete soundtrack, including the ‘real’ songs not found on the OST, is found at the bottom of this synopsis.]
0:24:22 Michelle finds copies of old Teenagers magazine issues. Howard tells her they belong to Megan, and when Michelle asks who that is, Howard simply says,
Megan’s not with us anymore.
He probably means she’s dead, not that she’s against them.
0:25:04 Howard shows Michelle his 2-way radio which isn’t receiving any signals as proof that the outside world doesn’t exist anymore. She’s as sceptical as a teenager’s parents.
0:27:02 To prove to Michelle the air is poisoned, Howard takes her up a flight of stairs to an improvised airlock, where she can look outside the door and see two rotting pigs. Funny, usually I’m the sick pig. 🐖
0:27:31 While there, she also notices a pickup truck with red paint marks, and realizes Howard didn’t happen to come across her but ran her off the road. Seems like there’s more than two pigs in this story. 🐖 🐖 🐖
[The explosion] wasn’t like fireworks. No, this was more like something you read about in the Bible.
Michelle learns Emmett saw the explosion that poisoned the air and fought his way into the bunker. She’d assumed he’d been kidnapped, like she was, but now she knows he’s even stupider than he looks.
0:32:12 Howard overhears Michelle expressing her disbelief over the cataclysmic event, just before dinner. She may not be able to eat now that she’s put her foot in her mouth.
0:37:56 During a tense dinner, Michelle flirts with Emmett to get a rise out of Howard, so that she can distract him and steal his keys. She wants him to be like me when I sing (out of key) / I’m a servant (lack-key) / I’m Thor’s brother (low-key).
0:41:26 At the same moment Howard reaches for the bottle opener on his key ring and discovers his keys are missing, a car pulls up overhead. Michelle makes a break for it with Howard hot on her heels, but she’s able to block herself in the airlock, breathless.
A woman from the car Michelle heard reaches the door and Michelle understands that people are dying to get into the bunker, and that she’d be dying if she got out.
0:44:07 Howard admits he crashed into Michelle’s car in his hurry to get back to the bunker when he learned of the attack. I still maintain he’s lying, that he crashed into her on purpose: ‘I fancied running into you’ and not ‘fancy running into you!’
Michelle has to shower because trace amounts of tainted air may have leaked through the outer door when she was up there. Howard gives her some of Megan’s clothes to wear afterwards. The wardrobe change from the white tank top to the Paris t-shirt symbolizes her change of heart concerning Howard’s intentions; she now trusts him and has resigned herself to living in the bunker. But she still has on her iconic blue bra beneath, demonstrating her rebellious nature is not completely gone. That she’s still the same underneath.
Howard chills homemade vodka in a tin cup using liquid nitrogen spray. His relationship with Michelle is no longer on the rocks, but his drink is.
We learn Megan was Howard’s daughter and that his ex wife turned her against him and took her away to Chicago. Seriously though, I think I’d rather die in Chicago than live under a corn field.
0:53:54 Life in the bunker montage to the tune of Tommy James & the Shondells’ ‘I think we’re alone now’.
0:54:27 Tonight on the telly: Cannibal Airlines
0:56:18 Loud noises from above echo through the bunker. Howard gives his appraisal of the situation.
My guess? Those flashes that kicked all this of, that was Phase 1. Take out your opponent’s population centres with big hits, all at once. Fast. And then for Round 2. Ground sweeps. The satellite log showed an increase in coded traffic recently. Possibly, extraterrestrial signals. I bet what we just heard were airborne patrols sent to hunt down the remaining signs of life. Like us.
0:57:18 Immediately after, a flashing light indicates there’s a problem with the air filtration system, and access to it is blocked. This kind of situation takes my breath away.
0:59:22 Michelle must squeeze through the narrow ducts to reach the machine that controls the filtration system and her crawling through the narrow spaces activates my claustrophobia.
In the closet-sized room with the machine, she finds a ladder that leads to a plexiglas window to the world. Climbing it, she discovers someone before her had scrawled their initials on the cover, if their initials were ‘HELP’.
1:01:44 Michelle finds a pair of bloody earrings on the ground beneath the skylight. She shows these to Emmett, and then shows him the picture of Megan [48:33], which had the young woman wearing the same earrings. Emmett looks at the photo and says
Wait, that’s not Megan. Her name is Britney. I remember her. She went to high school with my little sister. She went missing two years back.
It would seem Howard kidnapped Britney and kept her prisoner in the bunker until he tortured her to death. This means the bunker is a whine cellar.
1:03:08 They find another photo in the same book, with Howard sitting beside Britney on a sofa with his arm around her. She’s wearing the same Paris t-shirt Howard gave to Michelle. Michelle feels badly because she’s as used as the shirt she has on.
1:03:56 The song the oblivious Howard plays is The Exciters – Tell Him. And yet they don’t.
1:04:47 Looking at the shower curtain design of a duck wearing a raincoat, Michelle has an idea and changes back into her original white shirt because she’s back to her old rebel self.
1:07:16 Emmett tricks Howard into getting rid of the shower curtain by telling him Michelle may have contaminated it with ultra high doses of hazardous materials when she touches the air filter. The two fish the curtain out of the dust bin so that Michelle can use it to make a hazmat suit. Or be a giant condom for Halloween.
Montage of Michelle and Emmett making the suit. Sew what?
1:12:49 A suspicious Howard orders Michelle and Emmett to assist him in opening a large barrel of Perchloric acid.
It’s highly corrosive. Dissolves most biological material on contact. With humans? Right down to the bone.
Don’t drop this acid.
1:13:51 Howard tells the other two he’s found the scissors, box cutter, and duct tape they’d pilfered and insists on knowing what they were doing with the implements as he drops them into the vat of acid. Emmett lies to save Michelle by saying he was using them to make a weapon so he might steal Howard’s gun. Emmett steps up…and in it.
Howard: You’re sorry?
Emmett: I am sorry.
Howard: I accept your apology.
[Michelle breathes a sigh of relief.]
Here’s how you really make someone sorry.
[N.B. The piece of paper Michelle looks at in her room, from Emmett’s wallet, is the bus ticket he gave up when he decided not to go to uni on a track scholarship because he felt inferior (50:48)]
1:17:02 With Emmett out of the way, Howard says they can do whatever they want now. He apparently wants to shave and look as much like a paedophile as possible.
1:19:04 Michelle is working on the homemade gas mask when she hears Howard coming, so she only has enough time to hide the object in a vent. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have enough time to secure the screws and one falls just as Howard is leaving. In other words, Howard isn’t the only one with a screw loose.
1:19:46 Howard discovers the hazmat suit pieces under the mattress and goes after Michelle, who had just enough time to lock him in her room before she escapes. There are some moments you want to get away from it all.
1:20:12 Michelle grabs the liquid nitrogen spray from a desk as Howard approaches.
Howard: You’re going to walk out on me? After I saved you and kept you safe? This is how you repay me?
Michelle: No. This is.
And she kicks over the barrel of acid so that it washes over Howard’s feet before he slips and falls into it, head first. He’s like a hockey player: having a face-off.
1:20:49 The acid also eats through an electrical cord which causes a short that starts a fire and reminds me of Zombeavers, without the beavers.
Howard confronts Michelle with the right side of his face eroded away. She pulls a large shelf full of food down on top of him and climbs over him. Howard needs to lose some weight.
1:23:02 Michelle crawls out through the vents while Howard tries to stab and grab her. She makes it out unscathed and hazmat suits up while the fire spreads near an electrical box with flammable warnings on it. She best be careful this plan doesn’t blow up in her face.
1:24:08 Using the liquid nitrogen spray, she freezes the lock so she can shatter it. This is called an ice breaker.
Michelle tears her suit when she’s getting into the pick-up truck. She places some duct tape on the rip on a panic, but she feels as exposed as a stripper removing wallpaper.
1:26:28 Seeing birds fly overhead, she realises the air must be safe to breathe so she removes the gas mask because she’s a bird, too.
Oh, come on!
Michelle’s reaction (and that of millions of viewers) when she understands the planet has been taken over by aliens.
An alien investigates the garage where Michelle is searching Leslie’s corpse [the woman who wanted in at 42:04] for her car keys. Or perhaps the E.T. is hunting for a bargain on a used vehicle.
1:31:54 The aliens brought a can of pest spray.
1:32:42 Michelle makes it to the truck with her gas mask reattached, and is relieved ‘breaking glass’ is an alien concept to the extraterrestrials.
1:34:19 Michelle throws a Molotov cocktail into the alien’s maw: Fire in the hole and a burning sensation.
1:36:53 As Michelle drives away, she hears a radio message telling people who need protection to go north to Baton Rouge, and those who are strong enough to help to go to Houston. Precisely at this moment, she reaches a crossroads, with a sign pointing to Houston and another to Baton Rouge. She heads for Houston, as it would make a better sequel.
- WTF!?’s: Nary a 1 WTF
- When to Follow: This would be a good watch for fans of suspense or fans of huis clos. Try it on a Sunday night when you’d prefer not to be too freaked to sleep before class on Monday.
- Where’s This Found: The most irritating aspect of this film for me was the title. Originally, it was meant to be called The Cellar, which makes a great deal more sense, but then J.J. Abrams decided to import it into his Cloverfield universe. As a fan of the original Cloverfield, I’d hoped to find at least a modicum of connection between this film and its predecessor, and yet there is none. Not even a ‘blood relative’ or whatever ridiculous term the marketing people coined to trick viewers into believing this was in any way remotely related to the original. Upon leaving the theatre, I gave this film 5 F’s, but on re-watching it and knowing it was not a sequel to Cloverfield, I attributed 7 F’s because John Goodman made some very good choices in his character and a lot of tension was developed in such a tight space. So, taking the average of these impressions, out of a possible 10, I have 7 F’s to give
- What To Feedback: Many people online complained about the ending, after Michelle left the bunker. What about you?
[N.B. I’ve added the answer ‘The whole movie was terrible’ as it was suggested by a reader.]
10 (out of 6-7!?) Easter Eggs in the 10 Cloverfield Lane IMAX poster
Some of these are more evident than others, and with a few I, quite frankly, am really reaching, but I stand by these 10 Easter Eggs in the 10 Cloverfield Lane poster!
I require your assistance! Please see update after article!
- Michelle in the window: This image of Michelle at the door of the post box obviously parallels the one of her at the door of the bunker.
- The pick-up truck: Another direct reference is the pick-up truck that Howard used to run Michelle off the road.
- The bunker: The front edge of the bunker in the back yard is visible at the right side of the house.
- The splashed paint: The paint drops copy the blood spatter on the door jamb after Howard shoots Emmett in the head. [1:15:47, see photo after this list]
- The duct tape: A reference to the tape Michelle used to assemble her hazmat suit with the shower curtain.
- The missing screw: The missing screw represents the screw that fell from the vent, which led to Howard’s discovering Michelle’s escape plan and brings about the climax of the film.
- Meagan ❤ : Megan’s name carved into the post references the long-lost daughter Howard is trying to replace using Michelle (and Britney).
- Bad Robot: In the weeds is the Bad Robot logo, symbol of producer J.J. Abram’s production company.
- TRS: If you look closely, the acronym ‘TRS’ is visible on the bottom right corner of the post box. This is a reference to The Totally Rad Show, a video podcast hosted by Dan Trachtenberg, director of 10 Cloverfield Lane.
- Godzilla (?): Maybe I’m seeing things because I want so badly for it to be true, but the figure in the bottom left window seems to be a profile of Godzilla, and thus a reference to the original Cloverfield, in which New York is attacked by a Godzilla-like creature. [N.B. The artist of the poster has since tweeted me that [sic] ‘No none of the windows are significant’.]
The artist of the poster contacted me via Twitter regarding the post. After complimenting this post, he stated there are “6-7” Easter eggs in this poster and that I’d found all of them…but 1. The last one ‘is tiny and barely noticable [sic] unless you look at the one sheet’. I’m at a loss as to what he could mean. Does any of my readers have any ideas? I’m pretty sure it as something to do with the item on the post, but I don’t know what. Please take a look at the following and let me know what I’m missing!
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
Prints suitable for reposting!
WTF!? do you meme?
What to Follow Up