In Unsurprising New, J.J. Abrams Surprises Us

Here are some seemingly unrelated facts.

A little thriller called Valencia, which is directed by newcomer Dan Trachtenberg and stars John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is set to be released on March 11th, 2016.

There have been promises for several years now that there would be a follow-up to the 2008 found-footage monster feature, Cloverfield.

J.J. Abrams really loves his surprises.

Are you ready for the big honking twist ending that wraps these three statements together?

Last night a teaser trailer for what has been called Valencia for the last several months dropped before the 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi screening. Except this Bad Robot (J.J. Abrams' production company) and Paramount Picture produced picture wasn't called Valencia at the end of the trailer but rather 10 Cloverfield Lane. This little thriller about a woman who wakes up in a stranger's basement and is told she was saved from a chemical attack that left the outside world inhabitable, and a movie that didn't really make anyone's most anticipated of 2016, turns out to be the next Cloverfield feature that many have been salivating over.

Well played, J.J. Abrams.

It is really hard to keep any kind of secret in today's spoiler obsessed culture and with the ability for things to get leaked instantly on the internet. I can't remember the last time a trailer actually debuted on the big screen rather than get leaked online first. It is pretty impressive that the "blood relative" of Cloverfield was able to remain disguised as an abduction thriller this whole time and we're now less than two months away from a hotly anticipated movie that no one knew they were getting this year.

This was a great strategy for more than just the fact people love a good surprise. Now that there are only two months remaining, there isn't really much time for the hype to get to silly degrees and people get burned out before it gets here. The fever will hit right at its peak at the time of release. This also has the added benefit of there not being enough time for 25 different trailers that reveal every bit of plot

We really don't know much about the plot other than three people play with puzzles in a basement and there is clearly something nasty outside. I love that we're stuck to just three actors and also that they steered away from found-footage this time. John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are both fantastic and I look forward to seeing them play off each other. I'm sure John Gallagher Jr. will be all snuggles and wonders too, but I don't have HBO so I've never seen his biggest credit, Newsroom. Other great news is that the man who brought us Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, is a writer on this picture and it will be really intriguing to see what he does with a sci-fi story.

This is now my most anticipated movie in March and yes, I'm aware of the two guys in capes being grumpy at each other movie.