DIRECTOR: Dan Trachtenberg
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
John Gallagher Jr.
Michelle suddenly up and leaves her fiance and entire life behind. While driving alone at night, she is rammed off of the road by another driver. After surviving the accident, Michelle wakes up chained in an underground bunker with two guys that she's never met. When she is warned that the world outside has been devastated by a large-scale chemical attack. Unsure of who she can trust, she is uncertain if she has been saved by the two men from an apocalyptic event or if she is being held against her will.
In 2008, I can still remember the mysterious and intelligent promotional campaign for Cloverfield. The movie was shrouded in secrecy, and all we were given as an audience was the fact that it was a found footage monster movie. At that time, I was intrigued by the hype, and when I walked out of the cinema, I was left incredibly disappointed by what I had witnessed. I was one of the few that didn't like the film. I still haven't watched it since because of the bad taste that the original movie left in my mouth.
Eight years later and coming out of basically nowhere, a Cloverfield sequel is dropped on moviegoers by doing another pretty secretive and smart viral campaign. The first film being a large-scale found footage monster movie, the sequel now appeared to be a low budget survival 'held captive' thriller. I was initially worried about the sequel as I really wasn't a big fan of the original and thought I may have a bad experience with the sequel. Luckily after watching it twice now, it still holds up on the second viewing and is much more entertaining than the first film.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a much smaller film compared to the original. The scale of this sequel by comparison to the original is minuscule. I think some people will come out of this disappointed if they go in expecting a giant monster movie like the first film. The majority of the running time has this movie confined to only a small bunker. With the film set in such a confined location, it makes the movie much more claustrophobic and intense compared to the original movie. I felt similarities regarding plot between this film and Xavier Gen's disturbing and brutal apocalyptic bunker movie The Divide.
I found this film to be quite an intense film from the moment Mary Elizabeth Winstead wakes up in the bunker. What I believe the story does well is that it keeps you on the edge of your seat for the majority of it's running time. I found myself feeling seriously unnerved by how unpredictable and creepy John Goodman's character is throughout. The plot also works well in adding a sense of mystery and uneasiness as we are never confident whether or not the chemical attack outside is real or our main protagonist is being held against her will.
I think another big win for 10 Cloverfield Lane is the performances. The acting is top notch in this film. John Goodman delivers one of the best performances of his career. Here he plays the villain of sorts, but you are always questioning his motives during the film and wonder if he's just a lonely guy. I love seeing him in darker material. He plays the bad guy really well, and I think he should do it more often. He really does make you feel sorry for this guy at times and that's a testament to how great an actor John Goodman is here.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as our protagonist is in fine form as well. She delivers a performance where we are rooting for her character and feel for her in the situations she goes through in this film. John Gallagher Jr. as the sweet, funny guy also does well in his role. I loved him playing off Mary Elizabeth Winstead and think they had great chemistry. When shit hits the fan in this film and believe me, it does, you end up really feeling sorry for these two characters.
Visually, I think 10 Cloverfield Lane is incredibly well done. For a film that is set in an underground bunker for the majority of the film, it still looks pretty slick. We have a few larger scale set pieces at the beginning and end of the film. We have a neat car crash that opens the film, we also have a few intense survival scenes in the bunker and a pretty action-packed final few minutes. I think for such a small sequel, they did well with the visuals in the film.
Finally, we come to the negative part of the review. My biggest issue that I had with this movie was the ending. [SPOILERS] Once we escape the bunker and it's revealed that aliens have taken over the planet and it's not a chemical attack, it feels like the ending is an entirely different story. Everything that the first hour and twenty minutes have built falls apart right at the end. Some will absolutely love the alien aspect of the film, I, however, thought it felt like an ending that was written into a separate movie to try and cash in on the Cloverfield name. For me, it didn't feel authentic and while not a massive issue, it loses the film points.
DEATH TOLL: 3
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A couple of rotting pigs.
- A glass bottle is smashed into someone's head.
- Someone repeatedly smashes their head into a window.
- An open wound is shown (Later stitched up).
- Someone is shot in the head (Blood splatter showed).
- Face and arm melted by acid.
10 Cloverfield Lane has the honour of being a sequel that far surpasses the original. The movie is a taut and claustrophobic science fiction, thriller that brings things back to a smaller scale compared to the original and contains some fantastic performances. John Goodman delivers one of the best performances of his career as does the great Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Even with an ending that feels tacked on in later stages of development, the movie is still an entertaining ride.