Film Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane

The anti-sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane, hit theatres this weekend after a surprise, viral campaign was created to launch the film very much in the vein of Matt Reeves’ 2008 sleeper-hit, Cloverfield.

This time, we follow Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who wakes up in an underground bunker after being in a car accident. Slightly injured and generally confused, she is welcomed by ex-military and doomsday nut, Howard (John Goodman) as well as a young southern charmer, Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.). Becoming aware of an apparent nuclear disaster, Michelle skeptically tries to embrace the underground lifestyle of the bunker.

10 Cloverfield Lane

This film has no follow-up with its predecessor. It simply borrows the name for marketing purposes and the ability to make a Cloverfield anthology universe. We don’t have shaky-cam or large disaster action elements like Reeves’ Cloverfield. Instead, we are treated to a well-written, character-driven story that is small in scope. Trachtenberg, who directed the picture, is filling large shoes with an all-star cast as well as a production team that includes J.J. Abrams (Star Wars, Star Trek). The film is intelligent and precise while the tone of the film is both frightening and playful. The tension is always high, at almost unbearable levels, suffocating you much like the small bunker the characters inhabit.

The loaded banter between Winstead and Goodman is excellently crafted and both actors hold their own as truly unique characters. John Goodman, the veteran actor known for his ability as a character actor, shines in this film playing a truly paranoid, larger-than-life villain who convincingly sheds his shy, nice guy charm for something a lot more disturbing. Winstead, who plays the main character, holds her own playing an empowered female character. She is clever, brave, and determined. The way Winstead embodies the character is enjoyable to say the least.

10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t a big, bad disaster flick with a bunch of killing. This film is a subtle supernatural thriller that is confined and small in scope. The ending, while weak compared to the rest of the film, is still incredibly enjoyable.

- Tyrell Lisson

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