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10 Cloverfield Lane
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 10 Cloverfield Lane is loosely connected to 2008's Cloverfield, but it has different characters, a different setting, and a different approach: Rather than a monster movie, this is a sci-fi thriller in which the threat is kept a mystery until the climax. There's sci-fi/fantasy violence, as well as explosions, deaths, guns and shooting, knives, bottle-smashing, some blood/bloody wounds,and some other startling images (dead, rotting pigs; a woman with a gory face; a loud car crash, etc.). Language is brief but does include one use of "f--k" and one use of "s--t." Sex isn't an issue, though the female lead is shown in her underwear in one sequence. Characters drink homemade vodka in one scene, mostly for medicinal purposes (and a laugh). Some teens will be disappointed by the dissimilarity between this and the original, but many will be interested in seeing it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After a fight with her boyfriend, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) decides to leave town -- but while she's on the highway, she's involved in a traffic accident. When she wakes up, she's locked in a small room, and her leg has been injured and chained to the wall. A man named Howard (John Goodman) enters and informs her that there's been an attack; the air outside is toxic, and everyone is probably dead, but she's safe with him in his bunker. Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), a contractor who helped build the bunker, is also there. But Howard is just a bit too strange, and Michelle starts concocting an escape plan. Could what's outside be more dangerous than what's in the bunker?
Is it any good?
Designed to recall but not imitate Cloverfield (2008), this semi-sequel uses three fine actors and a clever script to craft a creepy sci-fi mystery that tingles the brain until the final moments. It feels like a compact movie that's dependent more on ideas than on effects; the strong performances help sell that. The climax, while exciting, also relies on a low-budget sensibility, finishing the job quickly and cleanly.
If the movie has a fault, it's that it seems to rely on pumped-up music and sound effects to create scares; every sudden noise can make you jump, and it's nerve-jangling. This kind of energy could have been put into expanding the building tension in the locked room, which might have made a better movie. But 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is still spirited, prickly fun. It's quite a bit different from its predecessor but still worth seeing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
Does Michelle seem like a positive female role model? Why or why not?
How is this movie different to or similar from Cloverfield? Are the changes better or worse? How?
How does the movie build a sense of danger inside the bunker? Does Howard seem trustworthy or untrustworthy? Why? How does keeping the threat a mystery add to the tension?
- In theaters: March 11, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: June 14, 2016
- Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher, Jr.
- Director: Dan Trachtenberg
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic material including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.