PEEK IN­SIDE 10 CLOVER­FIELD LANE

EM­PIRE UN­COV­ERS THE CON­TENTS OF J.J. ABRAMS’ LAT­EST MYS­TERY BOX

Empire (UK) - - PREMIERE - CH

BACK IN 2007, WHEN the first teaser for Clover­field dropped from the sky like the Statue Of Lib­erty’s head, it took the movie world by sur­prise. Un­til that mo­ment, no­body even knew it ex­isted — some­how, pro­ducer J. J. Abrams and di­rec­tor Matt Reeves had made a gi­ant mon­ster movie com­pletely in se­cret.

Now Abrams, who likens cinema to a mys­tery box, has done it again. On Jan­uary 15, a trailer hit for a thriller called 10 Clover­field Lane. Di­rected by new­comer Dan Trachtenberg, it stars Mary El­iz­a­beth Win­stead as a young lady who finds her­self trapped in a nu­clear bunker with two men (John Goodman and John Gal­lagher Jr.). The trailer is largely di­a­logue-free, but it seems fairly clear that some­thing bad has hap­pened on the sur­face. Some­thing that could in­volve a mon­ster...

The ti­tle is not a co­in­ci­dence. Shortly af­ter the trailer broke, var­i­ous Clover­field web­sites, which had lain dor­mant since the 2008 movie, sparked back into life. Abrams, who once again pro­duces, has stopped short of call­ing the new movie a se­quel, but in his only pub­lic pro­nounce­ment on the film to date, he did use the term “blood rel­a­tive”. So this may not be Clover­field 2, rather an ex­ten­sion of the fran­chise.

But here’s where it gets in­ter­est­ing. Soon af­ter the an­nounce­ment, a the­ory emerged, claim­ing that 10 Clover­field Lane had ac­tu­ally started life as a low­bud­get thriller called Va­len­cia, and then The Cel­lar. There are records of that movie, in­clud­ing an an­nounce­ment of Win­stead’s cast­ing, in Septem­ber 2014. The the­ory goes that when Para­mount In­surge, the di­vi­sion be­hind the movie, was ab­sorbed back into Para­mount, The Cel­lar was left in, well, the cel­lar. Then, it’s al­leged, some bright spark had an idea: take The Cel­lar, do some quick reshoots to tie it into the Clover­field uni­verse and voilà: in­stant cash.

Do a bit of dig­ging on­line and you can find re­ports from an early test screen­ing of The Cel­lar that con­tains no ref­er­ences to mon­sters. But then, the movie has been a Bad Ro­bot pro­duc­tion from the off — and it cer­tainly wouldn’t be be­yond Abrams and co. to en­gage in epic mis­di­rec­tion, right down to the re­moval of any Clover­field links from test screen­ings. So, which will it prove to be — gen­uine Clover­field se­quel? Clever mar­ket­ing gim­mick? Or just a film about how scary it would be to be trapped in an en­closed space with John Goodman? We’ll find out soon...

10 CLOVER­FIELD LANE IS OUT ON MARCH 18.

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