1. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Like many filmgoers, you may have seen the word “Cloverfield” in this title and sighed a little. Another found-footage monster film? Can’t we move on from the nausea-inducing camera shots and brief, often unsatisfying glimpses of a city-destroying monster?
As it turns out, however, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a very different beast. In fact, you may even find that you like it far more than its predecessor.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Michelle, a woman who has an argument with her partner and leaves their home in New Orleans. While driving through the Louisiana backcountry, her radio begins to pick up worrisome reports about blackouts in major cities. She doesn’t have much time to consider it, though, as her car suddenly loses control and rolls off the road.
Michelle wakes up in a concrete room, chained to the wall. Howard (John Goodman) enters and tries to convince her that he’s saved her from some sort of world-ending catastrophe. He claims that the air outside is now poisonous. Michelle is stuck there for at least another year or so.
When Michelle attempts to escape, she sees another woman on the other side of the bunker’s hatch. The woman is covered in skin lesions and begs to be let in, but then dies in front of Michelle. Now convinced that some terrible really has happened, Michelle returns to the apparent safety of the bunker.
Still, other events and inconsistencies in Howard’s story plant the seeds of doubt. Is he really a helpful man, or a murderer? Has there really been an attack? Maybe it’s nothing after all. But, then again, as the movie hints, there may be something far more sinister and strange waiting for Michelle outside the walls of the bunker.
So yes, sci-fi might seem male-centric — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good women featuring in some of the greatest films in the genre.