10 CLOVERFIELD LANE: Answering the Call | FCC 113

John Goodman plays the eccentric doomsday prepper Howard, who has taken two survivors of a mysterious nuclear attack into his underground bunker. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the quietly fierce Michelle, a survivor who suspects Howard is up to no good. Once Michelle’s trust in Howard is broken, she tries to escape his lair so she can help others on the outside. Join us as we discuss these Christian themes and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap
  • 00:07:47 – Movie Discussion
  • 00:24:00 – Christian Themes in 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
  • 00:54:39 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
  • 01:11:37 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 01:18:46 – Lightning Round 
  • 01:22:38 – Upcoming

SPOILER ALERT: This podcast episode and the accompanying blog post contain spoilers. If you haven’t seen 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE yet, go do that first and then come back. We’re like Richard Marx: we’ll be right here waiting for you.

Answering the Call in 10 Cloverfield Lane

Michelle’s got it pretty bad. In the middle of running away from a broken relationship, she gets side-swiped by a careless driver and is almost left for dead. She wakes up on a mattress and chained to a wall with no idea of her location. A man named Howard explains that there has been a mysterious nuclear attack on the United States and that he has taken Michelle into his underground bunker. He means for her and another refugee named Emmett to stay for as long as it takes the radiation on the surface to clear out – a year or two, maybe more.

It turns out that Howard is not a man without style. After some heated conversation and a brief squabble with the fire alarm (heh), Howard finally shows Michelle the rest of the place – and the digs are not bad at all. Over the past few years, Howard has apparently been preparing to go out in style. He’s got a fully furnished living space complete with a comfortable sofa, a widescreen TV and an extensive DVD/VHS collection, a fully operational kitchen, and a private bathing area. It’s a far cry from the cold cinderblocks of Michelle’s holding cell.

This image from 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE shows John Goodman and Mary Elezabeth Winstead in the underground bunker.

All the while, however, there’s an air of mistrust. Is Howard really telling the truth? Was there really a nuclear attack? Is the surface really that dangerous? Michelle has to find out. So one night at dinner, she ambushes Howard, takes his keys, and takes off for the exit. She makes it through the first huge, steel door and is about to open the second one. Howard is racing toward her, pleading with her to stop. And just as she gets the key into the lock, a badly radiated woman appears on the other side. For Michelle and the audience, this confirms everything Howard has been saying, and trust is established at last.

But when the air filtering system fizzes out and Michelle has to climb through the vents to get to the generator and fix it, she finds something that dissolves that trust immediately. She discovers the word “HELP” scratched on the inside of another window, and then she finds an earring mysteriously placed at the bottom of the ladder. This proves that something for more sinister is at play, and Michelle and Emmett set out to find the truth – a denouement that ends in Emmett’s untimely death, Howard’s eventual demise, and Michelle’s freedom.

This image from 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle.

Once Michelle is free, however, she is faced with a choice. She can either go north of Baton Rouge to safety, or she can go to Houston and help others fight the good fight. According to the voice on the radio, anybody with combat training and/or medical experience is needed in Houston. After a brief pause for recollection, Michelle answers the call and turns to go to Houston.

For us Christians, it’s an example of answering the call to help others escape the same horrors from which we’ve escaped. Howard and his bunker is the Law, and inside the Law brings on death to even the smallest transgression. And like Michelle, we as Christians have the opportunity to help others escape the clutches of sin and death just as God Himself – through his son Jesus the Christ – did for us.

Key Texts

Proverbs 1:33 YLT

And whoso is hearkening to me dwelleth confidently,
And [is] quiet from fear of evil!

Romans 12:1 NLT

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a way to use good stories to soften people's hearts.
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  • Philip Heard

    Hey guys, you did a real good job with a film I found difficult to identify a whole lot of different Christian themes. What I see mostly is also the answering of a call by Michelle. Her decision to choose Houston and helping people in trouble rather than going to northern Louisiana where they had a safe zone established is interesting. No one could fault her for not going to Houston, and undoubtedly she would be valuable to the community there. But she chose what is best over what is good. That’s a theme one of my old pastors would hit on. Often in life, we forsake the best thing we can do for something that is good. A close communion with God, fellowship with other believers, and a healthy knowledge of scripture can help us to identify what is best over what is also a good thing, but not the best thing. The prevailing theme in horror is fear, and we are told repeatedly by God “do not fear”. So we can make better decisions if we don’t let fear motivate us in one particular direction, but rather faithfulness to God’s calling in our life. Did that make sense? 10 Cloverfield Lane is an excellent suspense thriller, and the sort of horror film I can appreciate. I’m enjoying re-thinking the genre and discovering films I like.

    Now, a whole month of musicals in November? I thought October was supposed to be the scary month? 😉
    However, if you must- perhaps Grease is an option? That one song is catchy when it comes on at the grocery store.

    A Christmas suggestion I have is Nativity!, a British comedy starring Martin Freeman as a school teacher putting on a school play. I’ve owned it for a while, and plan on watching it for the first time this Christmas season.

    Love the show guys! #muhweeladgimli

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