May 19, 2016


10 Cloverfield Lane: Who is the Monster?

After letting the movie sit, I pondered on the characters and I looked at the story from different perspectives. And I realized just how much the story changed depending on how I viewed their intentions.

Unlike MY SPOILER-FREE REVIEW, I will dig deep into plot points and major reveals. So this analysis is riddled with spoilers.


The tagline for the movie reads as follows:

“Monsters come in many forms”

Although 10 Cloverfield Lane is related to Cloverfield; it’s only loosely. So the monsters aren’t of the same variety (until the end… sort of). Throughout the film, the tension is in the bunker, that’s the monster we’re talking about. So let’s start with the obvious and more considered monster…

Howard is the monster…

Howard is the character who is the clear first choice for the bad guy. After all, he had Michelle chained to the bed at one point.

Let’s trace his story:

Howard works with satellites. That’s how he knew of the existence of aliens. So he hired Emmett to build this bunker in preparation of that day.

Suspicious activity:

He has social issues so he may have some kind of problem here. Or maybe he’s just plain crazy. 

He runs Michelle off the road. He says it’s an accident but what if he did it on purpose to kidnap her?

He warns Emmett to not touch Michelle and can’t call Michelle a woman. This suggests that he sees Michelle as a girl. Seeing her as a woman ruins his illusion. The moment he sees her as a woman, she is in danger. This theory is based on him being some kind of serial killer.

Serial killer?…. Let’s rewind.

The word “HELP” is scratched into the window in that portion of the bunker (we’ll call it the “filter room”) that Michelle had to access via the vents. Michelle found that picture of Brittany, a girl whom Emmett said went missing a a couple of years back. But Howard had told Michelle that the Brittany picture was his daughter Meagan.

So Howard lied about the picture. Brittany was one of his victims that he had stashed in the bunker.

Emmett is the monster…

Now this is interesting. Emmett is the character that gets the least amount of focus. Because we see the movie through Michelle’s eyes, Emmett becomes the harmless one, the one who seems honest. Michelle trusts him and so do we since we aren’t given information beyond her perspective.

But what if Michelle has been trusting the bad guy all along? Let’s examine this scenario:

Howard contracted Emmett to build the bunker. That’s how Emmett knew about it.

Emmett saw the invasion and broke his arm trying to get inside.

But why didn’t Howard just let him in? Why does Emmett have to break his way in, especially since (in this scenario) Howard is the good guy? 2 reasons:

1. Howard may have thought Emmett was infected. This is  a possibility because Howard has social issues & is paranoid. Remember when that woman tried to get in and he kept yelling at Michelle to not let her in. But when Emmett tried to get in, it was at the start of the invasion and Emmett wasn’t infected.

2. What if Emmett having to fight his way in is related to the picture that Michelle found? What if Emmett dated Howard’s daughter (or had the hots for her) and because of this, Howard doesn’t trust or like Emmett. Notice how Howard doesn’t want Emmett to touch or get close to Michelle. What if Howard is watching out for Michelle? What if we go even further and say that Howard suspects Emmett of killing his daughter?

What… Emmett killed Howard’s daughter?

Let’s go back to what we know. “HELP” is etched on the window with blood on it. Someone was trapped in the filter room. We also know that the door to the filter room is blocked and can’t open. Maybe it was blocked on purpose.

That room has two exits: the blocked door and the window, which is shut with a lock.

Emmett wanted to crawl through the vents but his arm is broken. So Michelle went instead. Maybe Emmett wanted to go because he didn’t want Michelle to see the clues to what he had done.

But, but… Emmett said that the girl in the picture isn’t Meagan, so Howard is lying. But what if Emmett is lying and that is indeed a picture of Howard’s daughter. This changes the whole context of what’s to come.

Emmett says the girl’s name is Brittany, who went to school with his little sister. Brittany is a missing girl for the last two years. Body never recovered and everyone thought she left the town.

So let’s think about this. A girl goes missing and everyone assumes she left town? You mean her family didn’t call in a missing persons? Okay, maybe she had a bad relationship with her parents and had run away before. So they figured she was not coming back. Or maybe she’s an orphan. We don’t have details, but it does sound suspicious after some thought.

Summing up the theory:

The girl in the picture is indeed Howard’s daughter, Meagan.

Emmett worked with Howard on the bunker. During this time, he dated Meagan or wanted Meagan (maybe she wasn’t interested in him). Howard didn’t like Emmett dating or eyeing his daughter. So Howard wants nothing to do with Emmett.

Meagan goes missing or is found dead. Howard may suspect Emmett, but he doesn’t really know. Howard’s wife leaves him and moves to Chicago.

Emmett killed Meagan. Prior to the murder, he kept her in the filter room for some period of time (might not be too long).

Fast forward to now… aliens attack.

Emmett remembers Howard’s bunker. He tries to get in but Howard doesn’t like Emmett because Emmett dated his daughter. Emmett gets in, breaking his arm.

Emmett sees Michelle who has similar features to Meagan. So he gains her confidence and uses that to further Michelle’s paranoia about Howard. Maybe he planned to kill Howard if he had to so he can have the bunker with her or maybe he just wants to run away with Michelle.

Michelle is the monster…

This scenario is probably the least obvious to see. That’s because it relies on Emmett being the main monster. That’s the key.

So if Emmett is the main monster, how does that relate to Michelle?

Because Michelle inadvertently becomes a monster to Howard when she believes Emmett and let’s her paranoia destroy Howard. Of course, Howard’s social inadequacies didn’t help him.

Let’s look at it from Howard’s perspective:

Emmett dated Howard’s daughter, Meagan, and Howard doesn’t like this. Or Emmett was crushing on Meagan.

Meagan is missing or dead. Howard blames Emmett—either he thinks Emmett may have a hand in it or that he is somehow responsible, like he corrupted her.

Howard hears about the invasion, drives so fast that his car hits Michelle’s. She reminds him of his daughter so he takes her in to save her life.

Emmett and Michelle are getting along. Howard thinks back to his daughter and doesn’t like this. He gives the “no contact” rule to protect Michelle.

Howard notices the scissors and confronts Michelle and Emmett. Emmett confesses, mentions the gun and says he wanted to get Michelle to respect him like she respects Howard. This is his daughter all over again. Emmett is dangerous and will kill him & probably Michelle if he does nothing. He couldn’t save his daughter, but he will protect Michelle. So he kills Emmett.

Michelle turns on Howard and burns the place down.

Howard is dying and sees his safe haven burning down confused as to why she would do this to him after all he had done for her. For Howard, maybe he's come to the conclusion that Michelle corrupted Emmett since Emmet stole the scissors because of her. 

If only he hadn’t let anyone in. Both Emmett and Michelle ended up being evil.


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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