10 Cloverfield Lane: Not what you’re expecting, but everything you hope for.
Sitting in the theater before the start of the movie, my wife turned to me and said ‘Have you ever seen so many people come out for a film they know nothing about?’ And that is the truth of 10 Cloverfield Lane, a not-quite sequel to 2008’s Cloverfield.
In short, 10 Cloverfield Lane is both one of the easiest and one of the most difficult movies I’ll probably ever review. Easy in that there’s not much to really say – not without giving away too much, anyway, and difficult for the same reason. You see, to tell you ANYTHING about Cloverfield Lane would be to spoil a richly intense, no-holds-barred cinema experience.
I really loved the first Cloverfield film. In both genres of monster movies and found-footage style films, it stands as an excellent example of both. Cloverfield Lane lives in the same world as the first Cloverfield, but to call it a true sequel would be less than honest and certainly do it an injustice. This sits both as a brilliant stand-alone film as well as an expansion on the story told in the original movie.
10 Cloverfield Lane tells the story of three people trapped in an underground bunker after a major catastrophe has rendered the surface uninhabitable. We don’t know what that catastrophe was (though we all saw the first film, right, so we can kinda guess), and our three characters are also equally in the dark as to conditions on the surface.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing, Scott Pilgrim vs The World) plays Michelle, a wanna-be fashion designer running away from a failed relationship. After a car accident, Michelle wakes up in the underground bunker that acts as the setting for most of the film. In the bunker, Howard (sensationally played by John Goodman) aprises her of what little he knows of the situation above. John Gallagher Jr (The Newsroom television series) plays Emmett, the cushion of sanity that sits between a bewildered Michelle and a rather disturbed Howard.
John Goodman is terrifying as the unhinged Howard, and every scene in which he is involved brings with it an intense discomfort. The lack of a musical score and claustrophobic setting add to the discomfort we as viewers experience on behalf of the characters on screen. As good as Cloverfield stands as a monster movie, Cloverfield Lane equals it as a psychological thriller.
That’s all I will say. Watch it as a sequel, enjoy it as a stand-alone. 10 Cloverfield Lane needs to be high on your ‘must-see’ list.
Tension and Suspense
Blood and Guts