Just warning you now, BIG TIME SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BOTH CLOVERFIELD AND 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. If you haven’t seen either movie and don’t want the endings spoiled for you, don’t read on.
Obviously if you are still reading, you have seen both movies and are probably a little confused as to why they are termed “blood related.” J.J. Abrams and Dan Trachtenberg haven’t given a clear explanation as to what “blood related” means so we are left to speculate how the two films fit together.
A quick recap of the ending to 10 Cloverfield Lane (seriously if you haven’t seen the film, this is the time to back out):
Michelle escapes crazy murder Howard and the bunker with a hazmat suit and gas mask. When she makes it to the surface, she hears the sound of birds chirping and realizes the air is breathable and things seem normal. Michelle (and we as the audience) starts to think Howard was lying, but what about the woman who had burns all over her face and was begging to be let in earlier? That was real right? Michelle then sees a spaceship traveling overhead and realizes that not only was Howard right in thinking it is aliens invading, but she is still in danger. The bunker explodes from the fire which was set during her escape and the noise brings the spaceship over her. The ship starts to emit toxic chemicals and Michelle quickly gets her gas mask back on. Other noises she makes trying to get into a car attracts the attention of a worm like creature with sharp teeth. She fights the creature off, but the spaceship is alerted to her presence. She climbs into Howard’s truck for safety, but the spaceship pulls the truck up towards it. Michelle sees a bottle of booze in the back of the truck along with a lighter and makes a Molotov cocktail to hurl into the ship's opening.
Howard’s truck is free from the ship when the explosion disables it. The truck free falls to the ground knocking Michelle unconscious on impact. When she comes to, she gets into the other car nearby and starts to drive off. She finds an emergency broadcast station telling people there is a safe harbor in Baton Rouge, but more fighters are needed in Houston. The fight is starting to turn in favor of the humans, but more help is vital. The movie ends with Michelle following a route to Houston and when the shot pans back, you can see a major city skyline with several ships like the one she destroyed hovering over.
The attack and subsequent destruction of New York which takes place in Cloverfield is never mentioned in 10 Cloverfield Lane and we never see the same monster from the 2008 found footage movie, instead we get aliens. We as the audience are given very little information as to when 10 Cloverfield Lane takes place, but judging by Michelle’s phone, it does take place in present time and not 2008. So how are the two flicks related?
With the out of left field ending and the fact that both movies are about monsters and how humans survive in a crisis, add in the possibility of another movie in the works, and it makes an anthology of stories like The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, and the most recent Black Mirror are known to tell. It is a connective narrative (monsters and survival); but overall, each story takes place in different times and parallel realities.
I think it is interesting that 10 Cloverfield Lane is more about the human monster that is Howard than the aliens invading Earth which feel like a tacked on afterthought. (Just so you know the ending was not attached after the fact to make to two movies have some kind of relation, it was always the plan to have Michelle find herself in the middle of an invasion after escaping Howard) There is speculation Abram’s next project, God Particle (set for a February 24, 2017 release date), is another movie to be added to the Cloverfield franchise. God Particle is set on a space station in the near future and follows a group of scientists who make a terrifying discovery and have to fight for survival.
Another connective thread between the two movies is how the appearance of the monster compels the protagonist, who has run from fights in the past, to learn something new about their nature and run towards the fight.
Rob Hawkins from Cloverfield chose to not speak up and tell the woman he loves, Beth, how he feels before leaving for Japan to start a new job. Even after Beth confronts him about his attitude towards her during his going away party, he makes passive-aggressive remarks about her and her date instead of confessing his true feelings. When the monster attacks New York, Rob’s only thought is to find to Beth and get her to safety even if it means going into the areas the monster has been spotted. Even though the story doesn’t end happily for Beth and Rob, the two of them are killed in the bombing of Manhattan by the military to take the monster out, he was able to tell her how much he loved her before those final moments.
During 10 Cloverfield Lane, Michelle confesses to Emmett she watched her father abuse her mother when she was a child. She witnessed a man abusing his daughter one day at a store and couldn’t find the courage to step in. In the beginning of the movie, she was running from her boyfriend after the two of them had an argument when she was run off the road. Not wanting to become Howard or the alien’s next victim showed Michelle she could be a fighter and by the movies end she races to an even bigger fight than the one she just survived. She knows herself better and wants to help save other’s lives.
How do you think the two movies are related? Do you think the possible third movie will explain the connection, or become another entry to the anthology?