10 Cloverfield Lane – When Michelle wakes up on a mattress in a bare room, chained to a wall, she discovers that she has been taken there by Howard, a large, imposing man who tells her that some kind of government or alien conspiracy has killed some or all of the outside human population and she is there for her own good. Also trapped in his bunker is Emmett, a young man who came in willingly but, after realising Howard’s version of events doesn’t seem to add up, the pair hatch a plan to escape.  

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) – Director: Dan Trachtenberg

Is 10 Cloverfield Lane appropriate for kids?

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49108768

Rating: 12

Running Length: 104 mins

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

Genre: Thriller


Serving as a follow-up (but not sequel) to 2008’s J.J. Abrams’ ‘Cloverfield’, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ follows a claustrophobic, paranoid narrative about being trapped in a place where it is unclear if the danger is inside, outside or both. Unlike the ‘found footage’ style of its predecessor, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ uses the more usual ‘third person’ form of filmmaking which is much easier for audiences to follow. The movie is told through the eyes of Michelle (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who is extremely vulnerable but no shrinking violet. The uncertainty of her situation never deters her from her desire to find out the truth or escape if necessary.

John Goodman excellently plays Howard, the overbearing patriarch of the group. A man who is ‘off’ from the norm; fine while things are going his way but dangerous and unpredictable as soon as anything happens to go against his plan. Emmett (played by John Gallagher Jr) is nice, good-looking and on Michelle’s side; can he be trusted or are he and Howard in on some dastardly plan together? Also, is the outside threat of toxic air, with only Howard’s word for it, real? ‘Cloverfield’ may have definitively confirmed an alien invasion but how far have they travelled and, as no-one in ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ seems to be truly aware of the extra-terrestrial danger, is it still a problem? Howard’s story may not be true but can the alternative be tested? Only time can tell.

All of this is expertly addressed in a simple, oppressive movie that never rushes nor drags and with such a small cast, plenty of time is given to the situation as well as Michelle’s thought processes. While this style of movie may not be for everyone, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ is chock full of suspense and threat to keep audiences guessing from start to action-packed finish.


While driving, Michelle’s car is hit hard by another vehicle, causing her to be violently spun around. There is a 4 second close-up of her face as she screams in fear. This is brief but quite intense and could be upsetting for some kids, especially those who have been involved in vehicle collisions.

Michelle wakes up and discovers that a medical drip has been inserted into her arm, she is lying on a mattress on the floor of a bare room and her leg is chained to the wall. She has no knowledge of where she is, how long she has been there or who has brought her there. She becomes extremely afraid and attempts to escape but she soon hears footsteps approaching, the door to her room is opened (the lock making a loud screech) and a man walks in, she begs him to let her go. In a sinister monotone, he tells her ‘I’m going to keep you alive’ and ‘I’m sorry but no-one is looking for you’. He then leaves the room when the sound of another person bumping around is heard, aggressively shouting at them.

This man turns out to be Howard who takes Michelle to use the toilet. She objects to him staying in the doorway but he refuses to leave telling her ‘I’m not a pervert’. He does not do anything to suggest a sexual interest in her and the toilet is situated behind a shower curtain so some privacy can be maintained.

Emmett discusses his regrets around the dinner table and due to Howard being somewhat known for being a conspiracy nut, Emmett flippantly asks Howard if he regrets not taking ‘a pilgrimage to Wako’ (the site of a real-life notorious siege and killing of cult members – including young children – by government officials. It is something that has become a popular subject for conspiracy theorists). Many may find this remark disrespectful and unnecessary.

At one point Howard becomes extremely angry after being provoked (albeit mildly) by Michelle. He bangs his fist on the table and pushes Michelle against the wall, shouting at her while his face is mere inches from hers. This level of unexpected aggression and unpredictability may be frightening for younger viewers.

A victim of whatever has killed 2 of Howard’s pigs approaches the entrance of the bunker. The door is sealed and a character, seeing sores on her face is tempted to let her in in order to help her. The woman begins to nicely ask to be let in but becomes increasingly aggressive, finally banging her head against the window, leaving bloody marks on it and a large gash on her forehead.

Michelle is told that she has to give surgical stitches to another who has a large cut on his forehead. She is agitated and anxious about this and initially refuses. The other character is very calm and talks her into it; her hands, holding the needle and thread are shown in close up as they move towards the wound but after the first insertion of the needle (which isn’t shown in close up) the camera cuts away before the procedure starts.

A character tells a story of a little girl they once saw being harmed by their father, they speak of their personal experience of this which helped them recognise the signs of an abusive parent. The character becomes a little emotional and this could be upsetting for kids.

Howard shows Michelle and Emmett a large barrel of corrosive acid, he drops tools into it to show that he isn’t bluffing. Wanting information, he threatens them by saying ‘you’re going in this barrel while you’re alive to feel it’.

A character is unexpectedly killed and while the camera pans away to avoid showing the actual death, blood spatter confirms their fate.


Being an entirely different film to ‘Cloverfield’ but set within the same universe, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ expertly handles a simple, tense feature-length thriller that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Due to the adult nature of the plot not only dealing with dangerous mental illness but also the slow build-up, we would not recommend this movie for under 12’s.

  • Violence: 3/5 (a character desperately crawls through a very narrow space and another character violently stabs a knife around them several times. A character falls over into a puddle of acid, face-down and screams in pain. They are seen a little while later with bloody sores where the acid has corroded their skin. In a gruesome 3 second shot, the bloody and gashed bodies of 2 pigs are seen)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5
  • Fear Factor: 4/5
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (some mild flirting)
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (infrequent mild cursing and blasphemy, one strong curse word is used)
  • Dialogue: 2/5
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of abduction, imprisonment, trust, suspicion, trusting your instincts and paranoia.


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