10 Cloverfield Lane tells a small story designed to stand on its own, but it's also deceptively full of complex plot twists, potent but understated themes, and a few hidden ties to a larger Cloverfield mythology. Let's unlock this bunker of secrets and explain the ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Though they seem to have nothing in common on the surface, a look back at Cloverfield may provide some clues about the aims of 10 Cloverfield Lane. The original movie is about a giant monster's arrival in New York City, but that's just a backdrop to the main drama. Through its found footage conceit, Cloverfield showcases a group of twenty-somethings sending off their friend Rob as he prepares to move to Japan to start a new job.
Cloverfield's inventive first-person angle on a classic Godzilla formula makes it an effective thrill ride, but it's the naturalistic depiction of young adults in 2008 America that gives it a surprising amount of weight. In short, it's a giant sci-fi blockbuster interrupting an intimate indie drama about people struggling with regret. Their perspectives are shaken and shaped by unimaginable horror, making their real needs clear for the first time. That brings us to the sequel.
10 Cloverfield Lane introduces us to a heroine in a hurry. In the opening sequence, Michelle is anxiously packing a suitcase, her eyes darting to the stormy horizon outside. Is she desperate to escape a monster invasion? As it turns out, she's fleeing from an ill-fated proposal and ignoring calls from her boyfriend. Leaving behind an engagement ring and taking a bottle of whiskey, she hits the highway out of New Orleans.
In the midst of the drama that will soon follow, it might be easy to lose track of just how much is being set up about Michelle's character here. The fashion sketches seen strewn around her apartment, the radio news reports about massive blackouts, and even the bottle of whiskey are all elements that will pay off later. Most importantly, we learn from her boyfriend's call that she has an apparent chronic problem with commitment. It's clear that his words strike a chord with her, as she grows increasingly distracted listening to his voice from behind the wheel.
“We had an argument, couples fight. That's no reason to just leave everything behind. Running away isn't going to help."
So distracted, in fact, that she's unprepared for the truck that sideswipes her into a violent wreck.
Watch the video to see more of the ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane finally explained!
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The Cloverfield connection | 0:17
Missed calls and crashed cars | 1:06
Howard's hell | 2:09
Bunker buddies | 2:57
The lady at the door | 3:50
Ink and regrets | 4:42
Little girl lost | 5:28
Friendship dissolved | 6:19
Howard's end | 7:32
Alien after all | 8:30
Crossroads | 9:22