A few years ago I wrote an essay on the use of the unreliable narrator in the books American Psycho and The Great Gatsby and, after the usual stress and panic that comes with writing an essay, I actually managed to get a really good grade on it.

The element of using an unreliable narrator to tell a story has always interested me. I’ve always been drawn to the books told in the first person, and it seems it’s also the automatic voice I write in when I begin to write my own stories.
Traditionally, narrators were used to connect the reader to a story, so naturally, these narrators were assumed to be trustworthy and unbiased. But since the 20th century, use of the unreliable narrator has become an increasingly common and popular element in literature and even film.


Even if you’re not particularly claustrophobic, naturally none of us likes to feel trapped. So of course, a common theme or setting for thrillers and horror films is exactly that. The protagonist is trapped, usually by a murderous psychopath or even perhaps a supernatural being, and we watch with our blood pressure rising, hoping they somehow manage to get out alive.
10 Cloverfield Lane, directed by Dan Trachtenberg, starts with this relatively simple and common concept. Girl is trapped in a room, possibly a basement. Girl is chained to the radiator. Girl, of course, has no idea how she got there. Or how she’s going to get out.