The Sci-Fi Horror Masterpiece On Streaming That Shocked Everyone

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

In 2008, the world was entranced by the mystery of Cloverfield, a found footage monster film that launched filmmaker Matt Reeves and pushed the boundaries of viral marketing. Eight years later, the groundbreaking film was finally followed up, but not in the way anyone expected. That sequel was 10 Cloverfield Lane, and its claustrophobic terror is streaming now on Paramount+.

10 Cloverfield Lane is an intense, claustrophobic horror movie streaming on Paramount+ with one of the biggest twist endings in history.

10 Cloverfield Lane follows Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, after she wakes up in a bunker following a car accident. Her rescuer is Howard, played by John Goodman. Howard maintains that he rescued Michelle not only from a car crash but from an apocalyptic event that has killed the human population and left the air toxic.

Michelle lives in the bunker with Howard and his handyman, Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr. The mystery of the surface world slowly unravels as Michelle questions Howard’s motives and truthfulness; she even suspects that he is responsible for her car accident. As time in the bunker goes on, tensions rise, sending the audience on a winding road toward the truth.

10 Cloverfield Lane was conceived as an original film titled The Cellar. Written by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, the script was intended to be produced on an ultra low budget. The writers’ tight, intriguing thriller started turning heads in Hollywood in 2012 and was finally purchased by Paramount Pictures.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

The studio developed the project under its low-budget Insurge Pictures banner with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. Abrams saw the potential to connect The Cellar to Cloverfield, eventually coming up with the title 10 Cloverfield Lane after he wrapped Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Babylon and La La Land director Damien Chazelle came on board to do a rewrite of the film and was in line to direct the film. He departed 10 Cloverfield Lane to direct 2014’s Whiplash instead. First-time director Dan Trachtenberg was then hired to take over directing duties. 

The production team assembled an all-star cast with Winstead, Goodman, and Gallagher Jr., and it was off to the races. On an estimated $15 million budget, 10 Cloverfield Lane was shot in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the fall of 2014. In an unusual move, the team shot the film in chronological order, a tactic rarely used but famously employed for Steven Spielberg’s E.T.

[J.J.] Abrams saw the potential to connect The Cellar to Cloverfield, eventually coming up with the title 10 Cloverfield Lane after he wrapped Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Leading up to its March 16, 2016 release, marketing for 10 Cloverfield Lane took a cryptic approach similar to that of the original Cloverfield., a promotional website for the first film, was updated, along with an alternate reality video game.

The creative tactics and mysterious trailers for the film culminated in a massive release. 10 Cloverfield Lane earned $110 million worldwide. Critics largely praised the film for its stellar cast and taut, tense script that capitalized well on its confined premise.

Fans loved it, too, with many calling it even better than the original. Though not a direct sequel to Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield has been described as a spiritual successor. J.J. Abrams felt that the tone of the film matched the blend of mystery, comedy, and horror that worked so well in Cloverfield. With the same DNA as its predecessor, 10 Cloverfield slid right into the monstrous world.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Critics of the film, however, would disagree. The final sequence of 10 Cloverfield Lane was, to some, a disjointed piece that felt tacked on for the sake of connecting the movie to Cloverfield. In spite of this criticism, the film boasts the best review averages from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, with 90 percent and 79 percent ratings, respectively.

Paramount and Bad Robot followed 10 Cloverfield Lane with 2018’s The Cloverfield Paradox. Another original spec script retrofitted to fit into the Cloverfield universe, the movie was released straight to Netflix as a surprise to audiences right after the Super Bowl. 

10 Cloverfield Lane was followed up by The Cloverfield Paradox, which had significantly less success.

More entries in the world of Cloverfield have been teased to be in the works. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has even voiced an interest in returning to the franchise as the character Michelle to follow up her story from 10 Cloverfield Lane. What those sequels are remains a mystery and likely will for some time.

Matt Reeves stated that part of the fun of Cloverfield is the surprise, so the next one will likely have a similarly shocking announcement. Until then, relive the paranoia with the franchise’s best yet. Stream 10 Cloverfield Lane over this holiday weekend on Paramount+.