10 Cloverfield Lane Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Was the owner of the bunker at 10 Cloverfield Lane a maniac: film analysis, plot summary, ending meaning, similar films.

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Fantasy

Year of production: 2016

Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg

Actors: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.

tagline: “Monsters are different”

Debutant Dan Trachtenberg managed to shoot a typical but bright chamber movie. With elements of a psychological thriller, science fiction, detective story, adventure film, drama and horror, genre canons are practically absent here.

The plot of the film 10 Cloverfield Lane tells the story of the apocalypse, but from a different angle. If in other films we see the global disaster itself and its result, then Trachtenberg’s picture allows us only to guess what really happened. And did it happen at all?

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film. After a violent quarrel with a young man, the main character of the picture, Michelle, leaves her native Orleans and drives her own car through rural Louisiana at night. Turning on the radio, she hears frightening news: in cities, in different places, there are holes in the ground. Her boyfriend Ben tries to get through to her and convince her to come back. This distracts the girl from the road and in the end she gets into an accident. The car overturns several times, and the girl loses consciousness.

John GoodmanJohn Goodman played the role of Howard Stambler and Mary Elizabeth Winstead played Michelle. Frame from the film.

She wakes up in a small concrete room. Her leg is chained to the wall. Michelle is horrified: she is sure that she was kidnapped. She desperately tries to get out, but she can’t. In another part of the room, she notices her things and tries to get them with an IV. She manages to get her phone, but there is no connection in the room.

At that moment, a tall, overweight, elderly man enters the room. He brings her food and a key so she can unfasten herself from the wall. The man’s name is Howard. The man informs Michelle that he is her only chance for survival: she cannot leave the house, because it is dangerous there. After listening to Howard, the girl is finally convinced that he kidnapped her. At the first opportunity, she attacks him, but he easily wins. After that, Howard asks to listen to him, and Michelle, realizing that she has no choice, agrees. According to the man, the country was either chemical or nuclear attack. Safe only in the bunker where he brought her after he found her on the side of the road.

Michelle continues to doubt, after which Howard allows her to leave the room, and she meets Emmett, another survivor. The guy is friendly, and Michelle asks him for help and support. But he, to her amazement, confirms Howard’s words.

The bunker itself looks pretty nice – it has everything you need for a comfortable life. But the main character is uncomfortable here: she continues to suspect that there is some hidden meaning in all the actions of Howard.

Howard, meanwhile, invites her to dinner and Michelle, planning an escape, steals his keys from him. Seizing the moment, she hits him on the head with a bottle and runs to the exit. But in the window she sees a woman stricken with a terrible infection. Distraught with pain, the dying woman aggressively demands to be let into the bunker. Michelle is horrified: it turns out Howard is right … They finally manage to talk normally, and the girl begins to believe him. It turns out that as a result of the attack, he lost almost all his loved ones.

John Gallagher Jr.Emmett is played by John Gallagher Jr. Frame from the film.

Slowly, Michelle approaches Emmett, who, as it turns out, helped Howard build the bunker. He tells her that her savior has been obsessed almost since childhood with the idea that one day something similar will happen.

One day, Michel accidentally discovers a window with the words “Help” scratched on it from the inside and an earring with traces of blood. She had seen a similar earring a little earlier in a photograph of a girl whom Howard introduced as his daughter. Michelle shows the earring and the photograph to Emmett, who is struck with a terrible clue. According to him, the photo does not show Howard’s daughter, but a girl named Brittany. She studied at his school and went missing. After a little investigation, they are convinced of the truth of the only interpretation that has already come to their mind: Howard killed this girl and at any moment can take their lives.

Michel is becoming more and more convinced that there was no attack and that this is all some kind of terrible scenario. Realizing that they are next to an unbalanced person, the guys begin to plan an escape. Michelle makes homemade hazmat suits from a shower curtain, while Emmett assembles a gas mask. Howard soon discovers the tools they stole from him and chastises both. The young man takes all the blame, after which Howard kills him in cold blood.

A little later, he tells Michelle that they are family and hints that he wants to enter into a relationship with her. The terrified girl runs away from him. In the end, she manages to take the sewn protective suit with her and break out.

10 Cloverfield Lane Ending explanation

Explanation of the ending of the picture. Getting outside, Michel realizes that the air is not polluted, but after a few seconds he sees an extraterrestrial ship hovering in the sky. As she stares at the strange object in shock, the bunker behind her explodes, drawing the object’s attention. While trying to get into the car, Michelle accidentally sets off the alarm and draws even more attention.

Seeing a nearby barn, the girl runs inside and sees the body of a woman who recently tried to get into the bunker. The ship is looking for her and Michelle soon realizes that her hideout will soon be discovered. Running out into the street, she again encounters a ship that releases poisonous gas. Wearing a makeshift gas mask, the girl survives a chemical attack in a nearby truck.

The alien entity continues to hunt for her. At the bottom of the cabin, Michelle discovers a bottle of whiskey and uses it to make an incendiary mixture. Throwing a makeshift weapon at the creature’s mouth, she destroys it and leaves in the car of the woman who tried to get into the bunker. On the radio, she hears that the Earth has indeed been attacked by an alien and receives instructions to move to the north of the country. However, people with medical and combat experience are asked to go to Houston. Michel decides to go there and suddenly notices another alien ship…

bunker gamesFrame from the film.

The movie 10 Cloverfield Lane has a kind of open ending: we see a huge alien ship that is approaching the earth with not the most friendly intentions. What will happen next for Michelle and whether she will make it to Houston is unclear. However, in their analysis of the picture, many viewers express the idea that this is not so important. More importantly, was Howard right or not?

Judging by the fact that he behaved not quite adequately, the meaning of the ending of the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane is probably that Michelle managed to escape from a typical maniac. Howard equipped a bunker specifically for the victims, but suddenly the apocalypse happened. His belief (real or imagined) in conspiracy theories and preparing for the apocalypse was originally a cover for sadistic intentions, but suddenly he was right. He didn’t think it was possible, it just happened.

The meaning of the film 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane was billed by the creators as a sequel, “cousin” or spin-off of the 2008 film Monster. In the original, the predecessor of this painting was called “Cloverfield”, so the family ties seem obvious. But this is not entirely true – talking about the proximity of films is a talented promotional trick, the meaning of which is obvious – to attract fans of “Monstro” to watching. In fact, there is nothing in common between these tapes. “Monstro”, filmed on a handheld camera, was a dark action movie about giant alien monsters. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thoughtful and atmospheric chamber thriller set in a single location. And yet, as thoughtful viewers who have studied the universe in detail note, the action of this film unfolds simultaneously with the events from Monstro.

Dan Trachtenberg, the director-debutant of a big movie, mixed a thriller with a fantastic quality that turns out to be a reality. However, giant alien ships are, if not a background, then just a joke. The essence of the film 10 Cloverfield Lane is still different.

unbalanced bunker ownerFrame from the film.

The picture is based on stories about the kidnappings of people by a maniac who keeps them in captivity. 10 Cloverfield Lane is the address of the bunker house, where a monster lives, which will be more terrible than aliens.

The owner of the shelter, Howard, treats Michelle quite carefully. In some ways, he resembles the protagonist of John Fowles’ novel “The Collector”: he also holds the victim by force and at the same time does not want to harm her. Howard (film buff, gourmet, housewife and part-time philosopher) claims to have saved Michelle after a car accident, but he doesn’t look like a good Samaritan. There is a secret meaning in all his actions: he is trying to inspire the girl with dependence on himself, so that she eventually gets imbued with him, if not with feelings, then with the Stockholm syndrome – such a result would suit him perfectly. Fortunately, Michelle has a fighting spirit. All her actions reflect the main idea of ​​the picture, which lies on the surface: the ephemeral threat is not so terrible as the one who is nearby.

The main intrigue persists throughout the film. Despite the ending, which clearly hints at a sequel, it is fully justified. Which does not cancel the natural questions: why did this happen and what is the point in it?

To try to answer them, we should draw an analogy with the French film “Tire” (directed by Quentin Dupier). According to the concept of this film, some events and phenomena occur for no particular reason – only because they can happen. Looking through 10 Cloverfield Lane, you should not try to establish causal relationships. Because the nature of everything that happens is beyond the human ability to understand.

Trachtenberg’s film, being an amazing hybrid, ironically ridicules its genre counterparts. Despite the gloominess, he (taking into account the situation itself) alternately teeters on the brink of comedy, then rushes into classic horror. That’s what you remember after watching. And yet – the always relevant slogan “Monsters are different.”

exit from the bunkerFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few films similar in meaning to the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane:

  • “Mist” (USA, 2007). A terrible fog covers the provincial town, cutting off the inhabitants from the rest of the world.
  • “Separator” (USA, Germany, Canada, France, 2011). A massive explosion of unknown origin leaves New York City in ruins. Only 8 people survived, and they are hiding in the basement of one of the buildings.
  • “A Quiet Place” (USA, 2018). A family with two children lives on a remote farm. They are surrounded by monsters that react to any, even the quietest sound.
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