The worst thing about 10 Cloverfield Lane is the name.
Baring the same moniker as the 2007 found-footage monster flick Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane’s release was announced from out of nowhere a little over a month before its release with a marketing campaign shrouded in secrecy, much like its predecessor. Among the aspects of the film the trailers have managed to keep secret, however, is its entire lack of relation to the aforementioned 2007 movie.
Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane may as well be Planet of the Apes and Anaconda because what the mysterious marketing material conveniently fails to mention entirely is that “Cloverfield” essentially means “The Twilight Zone.” Now that two Cloverfield films are out its clear that the moniker denotes an anthology of genre films really only related in their secret marketing practices and while there’s nothing wrong with a film being a “spiritual successor” rather than a thoroughbred sequel the fact that 10 Cloverfield Lane is the former masquerading as the latter ultimately ruined the film for me, unfair as that is to the movie itself.
10 Cloverfield Lane is better than I’m giving it credit for. It’s probably a pretty good thriller and it definitely boasts compelling performances, but if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen most of the movie. The tarp I imagined was draped over some mind-blowing secret tucked away in the third act that would explain why 10 Cloverfield Lane has the name it does turned out to pretty much just be a tarp.
I hesitate to let marketing taint my view of a film. I had no qualms with Drive not being Fast and Furious. But in the case of 10 Cloverfield Lane the tile and the marketing feel like sleight of hand disguised as guerrilla promotion. I feel mislead enough by it to not trust my own opinion of the film.
I suspect I wouldn’t have had a drastically improved experience going into the same movie with the title “Goodman’s Day In” because ultimately I don’t think the movie in my wheelhouse, but because of the name and the marketing I feel like I never got the opportunity to give 10 Cloverfield Lane a fair shot. It’s the equivalent of an up-and-coming filmmaker making a little indie set in space and a production company slapping the name Star Wars onto it.
The movie that wound up being 10 Cloverfield Lane was never going to be exactly my cup of tea, which is by no means to say it’s a bad movie, but the name and the marketing insured the film and I would never get along long before I ever even bought a ticket.