The Film Minor: Five Films to Watch After 10 Cloverfield Lane

Much has been written about the new Bad Robot flick, 10 Cloverfield Lane. Set in the same sort of downplayed, alienified universe as the original Cloverfield, the new film features a small cast of characters hiding out the apocalypse in a tiny bunker. But what do you do if you suspect one of the people you are hiding with is a monster?

10 Cloverfield Lane is an excellent film to watch if you enjoy suspenseful thrillers. Further, the director, Matt Reeves, makes good use of the enclosed environment and keeps you stuck in the head of the film’s main character in ways other filmmakers don’t bother with. For virtually all of the film, we follow Michelle (played to great effect by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) shot-for-shot with the camera echoing her own sense of attention to detail. This helps ratchet up the feelings of nervous anxiousness, particularly in an early shot (shown in the trailers) of the three bunker inhabitants eating at a dinner table. What plays out afterward is a delightful blending of paranoia and weirdness until the film’s explosive climax.

Like the original Cloverfield, once you’ve seen the movie, you’re left wanting more. So here’s a list of five movies to hold you over until the next non-sequel installment in this sci-fi series comes out (fingers crossed it’ll be soon):

Alien (1979)

By the end of 10 Cloverfield Lane, sci-fi fans have been introduced to another badass heroine. Like the original Alien, from director Ridley Scott, Michelle doesn’t become a kick ass hero because she was always prepared to be one. Instead, her situation forced her to be both creative and tough. It’s a trait played to much effect in Alien and only one thing that the two movies have in common. A second is that both films take place within tight confines, further putting pressure on the characters involved. 10 Cloverfield Lane is as much a spiritual prequel to Alien as it is a sequel to Cloverfield.

 

Room (2015)

Did you watch 10 Cloverfield Lane, love it, but thought the ending was a little off-putting? Then opt to follow it up with Room, the 2015 Best Picture nominee, half of which takes place in a shed. These so-called “bottle drama” films are a popular sub-genre of movies and Room is one of the best. While there isn’t any science fiction going on here, the intensity is palpable and the danger feels more real than anything you get from 10CL. Even more, the movie plays to a diverse crowd. Although it’s a tear-jerker, guys won’t feel like the movie has anything less to offer them than the ladies they may watch it with.

War of the Worlds (2005)

For those fans who were left wanting more, more, more (and I mean now dammit!), well, you’re out of luck when the credits roll on 10CL. If you like the idea of aliens coming to earth and harvesting all of its citizens, and you actually want to see that battle take place, Steven Spielberg set you up back in 2005 with his version of War of the Worlds. Tom Cruise isn’t an action hero here. Instead, he’s a dad trying to take care of his family, a regular guy thrown into a precarious position by invaders from space. War of the Worlds has been a staple influence on science fiction for decades. Its presence is felt at the end of 10CL and the two movies are quite a pair to watch together.

Signs (2002)

Did you enjoy John Goodman’s paranoid portrayal of the creepy Howard Stambler in 10 Cloverfield Lane? No director did paranoid better in the early 2000s than M. Knight Shyamalan, who hadn’t lost his magic yet when he deployed Signs to theaters everywhere. While there aren’t any characters with quite the level of maniacal malevolence as Howard Stambler in the movie, the “are there aliens or aren’t there” anxiety is in full swing throughout much of this movie. And again, just like with 10CL‘s Michelle, the main character, Mel Gibson’s Graham Hess, is a normal guy with normal problems just trying to take care of himself (and, like Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds, his family, too).

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

There’s a reason 2001 is considered one of the best films of all time. It’s story and theme continue to be re-interpreted and re-imagined over and over. Even if you’ve never seen this movie, you’ve seen its decedents – several on this list actually. Like 10CL, 2001 features a caretaker who becomes more villainous than helpful and, also like 10CL, the ending will throw you for a loop. While the original was severely neglected for many years, it has since had a remastered version come out (as did Alien at the top of our list, btw) and is again a lush film to watch.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Our Score: B

Rotten Tomatoes: 90% | IMDB: 8.0 | Metacritic: 76

 

 

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