10 Cloverfield Lane Parent Guide
The director deftly uses techniques of cinematography rather than violence to create fear.
Parent Movie Review
10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie shrouded in mystery. It was only announced a couple of months before it opened in theaters and was completed without the usual attention many major releases receive. Now I understand why! This movie depends a great deal on the element of surprise. And I must admit—I was surprised. Unlike the first Cloverfield that left me motion sick with its hand-held camera gimmick, this production is good old meat and potatoes filmmaking. The suspense is built by constantly manipulating our thoughts on whether or not we should trust John Goodman’s character, Howard. Is he a demented captor or a pragmatic lifesaver of a young woman rescued from a car accident?
After she regains consciousness, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself locked in Howard’s bomb shelter. He’s been building the sanctuary for a long time and now he’s telling the frightened and vulnerable survivor that the world has been invaded by someone or something. This means they must stay inside for at least a year. Also in the bunker is a young man named Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who claims he fought his way in after seeing a bright flash on the horizon that looked like an explosion. Howard’s gruff nature and controlling personality makes him a tough guy to have faith in, and Emmett appears a little clueless.
One thing that should be obvious though is this isn’t a title to show children or anyone who doesn’t desire a high anxiety experience. The screenplay maintains a nearly continual sense of intensity throughout. However the director deftly uses his isolated environment, subtle sound effects and a highly dramatic musical score to create this fear—as opposed to gore and violence.
That’s not to say there isn’t any concerning content onscreen. While most of the scenes feature characters engaging in psychological conflict, at times there are physical altercations. A little blood is shown and a couple of moments in the film are disturbing. We catch glimpses of decomposing human and animal bodies. Some sexual violence is implied and two profanities (one being a sexual expletive) are used. Still, the greatest cautions when considering showing this film to teen viewers will be its theme and the accompanying adrenalin rush.
Directed by a guy with only a TV episode and a couple of short films in his portfolio, I’m betting Dan Trachtenberg’s career will take off from here. With JJ Abrams producing, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a well-crafted venture is sure to leave those who enjoy a good, satisfying scare talking for a long time after they’ve seen it. And if you want to keep your thrill-seeking friends—don’t spoil the mystery for them!Directed by Dan Trachtenberg. Starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release March 11, 2016. Updated July 17, 2017
10 Cloverfield Lane
Rating & Content Info
Why is 10 Cloverfield Lane rated PG-13? 10 Cloverfield Lane is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic material including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language.
Violence: An intense vehicle accident is depicted that leaves a woman unconscious; when she revives she is chained to a pipe and lying in a sealed room. It is later revealed a male of dubious intent has found her and helped her survive. A character is forcibly injected with a sleep-inducing drug. A character is shot and killed at point blank range. Glimpses of human and animal corpses are seen in various states of decay. Characters engage in verbal and physical altercations involving bodily harm. One character is hit on the head with a bottle resulting in a large, detailed forehead wound. Characters are frequently in peril and face life and death decisions.
Sexual Content: Previous violent sexual activity is alluded to in the dialogue. A man insists on staying in the same room while a woman showers behind a curtain. A woman is seen in underwear.
Language: A single sexual expletive, a mild profanity and a scatological term are used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man forcibly injects a woman with a sleep-inducing drug. A character, hooked to an IV bag, pulls the needle out and some blood is seen. A character drinks a home brewed concoction to relieve pain, and another character tries some as well.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
10 Cloverfield Lane Parents' Guide
This movie manipulates the level of trust the audience feels toward the antagonist. What techniques does it use to keep us in suspense and unsure of our feelings toward Howard? How is our faith in others sometimes challenged in reality? What clues do you look for to determine if someone is trustworthy?
How does the characters’ confined situation contribute to the suspense? What is Howard’s attitude about having to live in the shelter? Is living in a shelter like the one depicted here something you would want to do if there was a major attack? What problems would you face after emerging months or years later?
The creators of this movie exploit a huge assumption most of us hold when viewing entertainment. Can you identify what that preconceived notion is?
The most recent home video release of 10 Cloverfield Lane movie is June 14, 2016. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: 10 Cloverfield Lane
Release Date: 14 June 2016
10 Cloverfield Lane releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack or DVD) with the following special features:
- Feature film in high definition
- Commentary by director Dan Trachtenberg and producer J.J. Abrams
- Over 30 minutes of Behind-The-Scenes Footage
- Feature film in standard definition