Movie Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

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A spin-off to the 2008 monster horror film Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 horror/thriller film directed by Dan Trachtenberg. It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, a woman who awakens in an underground bunker with only the strange Howard (John Goodman), and meek Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) as company. Howard tells both Michelle and Emmett that there has been some sort of attack on the surface, and the three must remain locked down in the bunker if they wish to survive. As the trio begin to question themselves, it soon becomes clear that monsters come in many forms.

+ John Goodman is equal parts incredibly sympathetic and pants-wetting-ly terrifying as Howard. His various outbursts are almost as scary as the time he is being polite. It is not always clear if what he is saying is true, but Goodman at least makes it feel as if HE believes it to be true
+ both Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher, Jr. (as Michelle and Emmett, respectively) are enjoyable, and they play off of each other effectively. Michelle’s feisty-ness contrasts well with Emmett’s hesitation to get on Howard’s bad side
+ the film is shot almost entirely in Howard’s bunker, which creates a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere
+ there are lots of subtle hints throughout the film at a larger backstory between any combination of the trio, and it was enjoyable reading about them after watching. I’ll definitely need to rewatch it to see if there are any other hints

– a pretty huge plot twist is sort of ‘take it or leave it’, and I personally could have done without. Until that point, however, it was a tense atmosphere – it will just depend if you judge a movie on it’s good or bad, and particularly what you think of the twist
– this really has next to nothing to do with Cloverfield. Don’t get caught off guard, the name is little more than a marketing stunt

Should you see this film: Yes. I was not a big fan of Cloverfield, and this (mostly unrelated) film was much more up my alley. Fantastic performances by all three, but especially a terrifying John Goodman, make this a must see for any fans of thrillers.

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