Movie nerds don't shock easily. They tend to seek out as much advance intel as possible on the projects designed to appeal to them—just as long as there are no major spoilers, thank you very much. Still, legions of such nerds sat slack-jawed in theaters back in 2007 upon finding out high-profile nerd-magnet J.J. Abrams had snuck one by them. The trailer for Cloverfield featured found-footage monster movie chaos, and no title—just a release date and the reassuring imprimatur of Abrams's company, Bad Robot. Nobody had been expecting it, a true rarity in the age of transparency.
Now it appears Abrams and Bad Robot have done it again.
A trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane premiered last night, before screenings of 13 Hours, of all things, with absolutely zero fanfare. Although whispers of a potential sequel had been circulating for years, this is another one of those rare instances where the trailer announces the production itself. (Most of the time these days, the nerd community knows a trailer is forthcoming even months in advance.) Perhaps using the cloak-and-dagger evasion required to create The Force Awakens as an umbrella of secrecy over several Bad Robot projects, Abrams managed to shock everyone again.
This time, the gap between the trailer and the release date is a breezy two months, compared to the half-year post-trailer wait for Cloverfield. Also different is the lack of found-footage this time around—probably a wise choice as that style has been steadily falling out of favor lately outside of interesting small-scale projects like Creep. Then there's the plot itself. The trailer features John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. as an odd trio confined to a basement, set against the cheekily appropriate song, "I Think We're Alone Now". It's as if there may be something lurking just outside the basement. Something... Cloverfield-ish?
According to Collider, the film started its life as a Bad Robot-produced, post-apocalyptic basement thriller. At some point in production, Abrams told Collider, "We wanted to make it a blood relative of Cloverfield. The idea was developed over time. We wanted to hold back the title for as long as possible." Curiously, the 'we' here includes not only director Dan Trachtenberg, but credited co-screenwriter Damien Chazelle, the auteur behind last year's Oscar contender, Whiplash. His presence raises even more questions. Fortunately, all questions will all be answered in March.
Watch the full trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane below: