10 Cloverfield Lane‘s director, Dan Trachtenberg, has been tapped to direct the fifth movie in the Predator movie franchise, according to Variety. It’s a bit strange that such a fledgling movie director would be given the responsibility to helm what is potentially the most important entry in the series. However, judging by the work he did in his debut movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane, it’s likely that he is capable of providing the best Predator movie yet. Predator 5 is an important step for the franchise because it’s an opportunity to do what the Alien franchise did with its newest entries—provide an origin and a deeper context to its hitherto unexplained creature. There are many reasons that Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane is a good harbinger of what’s to come for the Predator series, but there are three main reasons that his success is almost a foregone conclusion.
The original Cloverfield movie received high marks critically and commercially, which is what made the 10 Cloverfield Lane sequel possible. However, the success of the original also meant it would be a risk putting the franchise in the hands of a relative novice. Luckily, Trachtenberg signing on to direct the sequel turned out to be the right decision, and 10 Cloverfield Lane is arguably the best entry in the Cloverfield franchise in terms of popular opinion. Positive reception of Trachtenberg’s entry into the franchise is due in large part to the stellar performances from the trio of main characters played by John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. However, the main reasons why 10 Cloverfield Lane bodes well for Trachtenberg’s Predator is the plot device, the narrative style, and the character development he used in his directorial debut.
The plot device that Trachtenberg used in 10 Cloverfield Lane is a perfect fit for what the new Predator movie needs. It’s the same plot device that made the original Predator so good—a group of protagonists follows a set of intersecting plots, each consisting of its own drama and mysteries. In Predator, one plot is about a botched military operation, and the other is about an alien invader hunting human game. Likewise, in 10 Cloverfield Lane, one plot is about prisoners in a fallout shelter, and the other is about an alien invasion. Although each set of plots intersect in crucial ways for the characters, they develop in parallel and both are equally important to the movie overall. If Trachtenberg can use this plot device in the same effective way he did in 10 Cloverfield Lane, the new Predator movie is sure to be good.
The narrative style Trachtenberg used in 10 Cloverfield Lane is also a perfect fit for what the new Predator movie needs. For example, 10 Cloverfield Lane doesn’t reveal the movie’s creature until the timing is just right. Likewise, other secrets, such as Howard’s (Goodman) true intentions, are kept a mystery even after the movie ends. This narrative style enables the movie to maintain tension and suspense without revealing all of the movie’s mysteries at once. The same narrative style is used in the original Predator and would be a safe bet for Trachtenberg to use in the new Predator as well.
The character development that Trachtenberg used in 10 Cloverfield Lane is possibly what will set his Predator movie apart from the rest. He gives the audience just enough information about the characters that they become compelling and relatable but still mysterious. The details provided about Michelle’s prior relationship and Howard’s broken family are just enough to keep the characters interesting while maintaining suspense. The original Predator does this as well by giving just enough detail about Dutch’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) past and the nefarious intentions of the CIA to keep the characters relatable. If Trachtenberg can use this 10 Cloverfield Lane formula for his Predator movie, then it’s sure to be a success.