J.J. Abrams Sneaks Out a Trailer for Secret 'Cloverfield' Follow-Up

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Somehow, amid all the demands of directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams managed to produce an under-the-radar follow-up to the 2008 found-footage monster movie Cloverfield. The first teaser — which premiered unannounced before screenings of Michael Bay’s Benghazi film 13 Hours — promises a tense, claustrophobic horror film, with no obvious connection to the Manhattan monster attacks of Cloverfield. But the title, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and the logo of Abrams’s production company, Bad Robot, gives it away. Watch it above!

John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and John Gallagher Jr. (Short Term 12) look like one happy family at the start of the trailer, passing the time in a suburban basement game room — until the house starts shaking and it becomes clear there’s something much more sinister going on. Why won’t Goodman let Winstead leave the house? Why is he pulling on those black rubber gloves? And what is happening in the outside world that Goodman is convinced will “get us all killed”?

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The biggest mystery of all may be, How did this film get made without anybody knowing about it? In a statement to Collider, Abrams called the movie “a blood relative of Cloverfield,” saying, “The idea was developed over time. We wanted to hold back the title for as long as possible.” The movie was produced under the working titles The Cellar and Valencia to disguise the Cloverfield connection (which, again, is still not totally apparent). According to a Variety synopsis of The Cellar from 2014, Winstead’s character wakes up in a cellar after a car accident and fears she’s been abducted. Goodman plays a doomsday prepper who tells her that he actually saved her life, because a chemical attack has left the outside world uninhabitable. Winstead spoke to Collider about the film in March, saying, “You don’t know who’s telling the truth or who to believe. There’s a lot of, who’s manipulating who, and all of that.”

The original Cloverfield had a similarly stealthy marketing campaign. In 2007, the first surprise teaser was released before Michael Bay’s Transformers, and didn’t even contain the film’s title. Intense online speculation followed, especially after that nondescriptive title was revealed. As it happens, “Cloverfield” was one of several working titles, taken from a street in Los Angeles near the Bad Robot office. (The actual street is Cloverfield Blvd., not Cloverfield Lane.) 10 Cloverfield Lane’s working title “Valencia” could also refer to a Los Angeles location (it’s a neighborhood of Santa Clarita), which may be the only Cloverfield hint the studio dropped until now. As for what makes it a “blood relative” rather than a sequel, we’ll find out when the film opens in theaters on March 11. Meanwhile, maybe this newly released poster contains some clues?

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10 Cloverfield Lane poster. (Image: Paramount)