It’s hard reviewing “10 Cloverfield Lane” without mentioning the original 2008 film “Cloverfield”. Just like the first, this sort-of-but-not-really sequel was shrouded in complete mystery. Nobody even knew this film existed until a few months ago when a surprise trailer for it appeared. Then there was constant speculation. How does this tie into the first one? Is the “Cloverfield” monster in this? What is this about?
It’s easy to speculate on what “10 Cloverfield Lane” could be but let’s focus on what the film is.
The film tells the story of Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who finds herself trapped in an underground bunker after being in a car wreck. There she meets her ‘savior’ Howard, played by John Goodman, and Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr., a fellow resident of the bunker. After Howard explains to her that air outside is toxic as the result of an attack, Michelle tries to figure out what exactly happened on the surface above and if she is truly safe in the bunker.
What follows, is a tense claustrophobic thriller that will keep you on edge from nearly start to finish.
Dan Trachtenberg makes his directorial debut with “10 Cloverfield Lane” and does he show that he has a bright future ahead of him.
Trachtenberg uses a slow-burn approach, letting the tension build as you the viewer try to figure out what’s going on. There’s rarely a moment that passes where there isn’t a sense of unease.
The three actors all do tremendous job but the real scene-stealer is John Goodman. He’s terrifying as Howard. The moment he appears on screen you just know that something is off with him but you don’t know what. And the film toys with your emotions towards him, he’ll seem completely insane one moment but then the next he’s the one making perfect sense.
While this could seem like inconsistent writing in some films, “10 Cloverfield Lane” does this in a way that feels natural. This leads to the audience constantly questioning who they should root for and what’s going to happen next.
The only real faults with the film comes with the expectations of those watching. With the title one automatically connects it “Cloverfield” and expects this one to be the monster movie sequel people have been hoping for. Those expecting a direct continuation of the first movie are gonna be disappointed.
Then there’s the ending which is already facing some controversy. This review won’t go into any details; however, there’ll be some who will think the ending was fitting while others will be left unsatisfied and wanting more answers than they are given.
It’s best to view “10 Cloverfield Lane” as it’s own stand-alone film. With that said, it is heart pounding adrenaline rush of a film with one of the best performances by an actor this year. Those wanting “Cloverfield 2” should probably leave those expectations at the door.