Two months ago, no one knew that 10 Cloverfield existed, let alone was about to be wide released in theaters. One month ago, no one had any idea how, if at all, this film was related to the 2008 film Cloverfield except for the obvious title and produced J.J. Abrams. And now, all is revealed. Sort of. Here's my review.
One of the greatest things 10 Cloverfield Lane has to offer is that the audience really has no idea what to expect going into the film. Very much in the J.J Abrams way, the production for this film has been left completely under-wraps and the trailers have revealed next to nothing. That's one of the benefits for the movies, so I'm not going to spoil or give anything away in my synopsis or the review. I won't even tell you if this movie is indeed a Cloverfield sequel or if it's something different altogether. You'll have to find out for yourself, because I can tell you right now that you should spend the money to go see it in theaters.
I'll be brief. A woman we know very little about named Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is involved in a car crash in a breath taking opening credit sequence. She wakes up a few days later to find herself in an underground bunker with Howard (John Goodman), a large and crazed eyed farmer standing above her. He tells her that she can't leave, because some sort of disaster has happened and it's not safe to go outside. Finding herself alone with Howard and another man named Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), and I'm stealing their tag line here because it's a dang good tag line, they find out that Monsters come in many forms.
Obviously I had no idea to expect when I went into 10 Cloverfield Lane. No one did. But within the first five minutes they set the tone so you know what kind of movie they are going for, and I found myself instantly engaged. For the rest of the film, I was floored with what was going on. Director Dan Trachtenberg takes the reigns on creating a film that will hit you with the unexpected, and leave your jaw hanging.
The best word I could think of to describe this film while I was watching it was claustrophobic. For the scenes that takes place in the bunker (I'm not saying how much of the screen time that actually is) they create such an intense and nervous atmosphere that you feel yourself getting antsy along with the characters.
That's because for almost the whole film, we don't really know what's going on. We know what John Goodman is telling us and leading us to believe, but we have no idea if that's reliable or not. We discover things along with the characters, which is why this film is such a good build up. When the conclusion to the film finally comes, you leave more than satisfied. But don't ruin it for yourself by looking up online spoilers to see if it is a Cloverfield sequel. Spend the money. See the movie. Find out for yourself. It's worth it.
I've heard the argument and I've sited it a few times in past reviews, that the best way to bring out great performances in actors is to lock them in a single setting film where they having nothing to hide their performance behind. That's what happens here. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, an actress who deserves to get more work than she does, played the character so well as she captures the nervous ticks without acting completely helpless the whole time. In the end, she was pretty bad-ass. John Gallagher Jr., a character who could have been super annoying, ended up being great in the film too, and had really good chemistry with Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
But the stand-out of the film if John Goodman. John Goodman is in so many films every year that we sometimes take him for granted and forget how good of an actor he can be when he's not mailing it in (whatever Hangover film he was in. I forget) but rather commits whole heartedly to a role. That's what happens here. He could have easily over-cooked his performance where it came of as cartoon-y or unrealistic, but he hit just the right level of disturbing and off-putting where you are crept out by the guy but you can't be sure if he's in the right or wrong. It's a performance similar to Joel Edgerton's in The Gift.
ALSO just read on IMDb that Bradely Cooper's voice appeared over a cell-phone in one scene. I knew I had heard the voice somewhere but I couldn't put my finger on it until now.
At no point of 10 Cloverfield Lane does the film slow down or lose interest. It uses it's hour and forty five minute runtime, a surprisingly long one for this type of film, to achieve the best possible effects. The film flies by and I found myself never wanting it to be over.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie you should rush out to the theater to go see. Accept that you know nothing about it going in, and enjoy that experience. Because it's something that doesn't happen often and it's a rare gift when it does. 10 Cloverfield Lane has a lot to offer despite the fact that it's a very small film. In fact, regardless of the fact if they are in the same universe, I'll say I enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane more than I enjoyed Cloverfield itself. And I want to see the story continued in a sequel. 10 Cloverfield Lane gets an A-, it's one of my favorite films of 2016 so far. Go see it this weekend. " - brands42