Wait, where’s T.J. Miller at?
While on the run away from a failing marriage, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) all of a sudden gets into a car accident where, moments later, she wakes up having no clue where she is. All that she does know is there her knee is messed-up, she’s locked onto a pipe, and stuck in this room, which also happens to be in the basement. Soon though, in walks Howard (John Goodman) to give her the lowdown on who he is, what happened and why he has her locked in his basement. What Michelle finds out from Howard is that there’s a supposed attack on the United States and almost no one above ground is safe – therefore, them, as well as Howard’s trusted worker, Emmet (John Gallagher, Jr.), are to be stuck down there in this confining, but perfectly prepared and relatively cozy bomb shelter, until they get the “go ahead” to come out into the real world. This means that, until this time comes, they’re going to have to get to know each other a whole lot better, even if that’s a lot easier said then done, when you believe there to be the apocalypse occurring right outside your door.
Just as Cloverfield did over eight years ago, 10 Cloverfield Lane is building up this tense of suspense and tension, solely through its advertising. While we may have a general idea of what this film’s about judging by the title, the fact that it’s filmed with famous actors, without the hand-held footage aspect, already makes it seem like an entirely different movie altogether. Though, from a business standpoint, having the word “Cloverfield” attached may have been smart, it’s actually the worst decision a movie as meticulously planned and put together as this, could have made.
There’s a certain feeling of disbelief and unknowing that really takes over 10 Cloverfield Lane that makes you wonder just what the hell is going on outside these surrounding walls these characters are confide to. While had this been any other movie, without nearly the savvy and smart advertising as this movie did, and a different name, would have had us thinking the best, but expecting the worst, and generally not knowing what is happening, we kind of already got the idea of what’s going on outside and it’s a huge bummer. With that said, it’s very hard to talk about a movie such as this considering that each and every little thing one can point at, or at least discuss, can be seen as “a spoiler”. And while it’s a lot easier said then done in cases such as this, I will try my absolute hardest not to go into what 10 Cloverfield Lane is about, what transpires and what you can expect going into it.
If there is anything you want to know, though, is that’s it really fun.
Like, really, really fun.
First-time director Dan Trachtenberg may not be J.J. Abrams, but he might as well have been here, considering that a lot of the same stylistic tropes and signatures we’re used to seeing from him, are clearly on-display. This is a great thing, especially if you’re an Abrams fan, because it not only sets us off in an upsetting mood from the beginning, but also allows for us to enjoy the finer, smaller things that this movie has to offer. To call it simply “a horror flick”, isn’t doing 10 Cloverfield Lane much justice; if there is actually anything “horrifying” going on here in the movie, it’s what we think is going to happen. Everything else about the movie is, for the most part, an exciting thriller that blends a great deal of heart, character-drama, tension, and, yes, even comedy.
10 Cloverfield Lane could have easily been a boring, meandering slog of watching famous, good-looking people, cry and complain about the end of the world being nigh, but the team behind the movie are much smarter than that and know the best ways to keep an audience interested, is by giving them something more to chew on. That’s why the characters, as limited as they may be in terms of what we get to see of them, do feel fully-realized enough to where we’re compelled to see what happens next – not just because it’s Earth that’s, supposedly, under attack, but because we actually give a hoot about these characters.
This is all the more important due to the fact that 10 Cloverfield Lane is, essentially, a three-hander featuring the likes of John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher, Jr. I won’t say if somebody else shows up, or is heard, but yeah, for the most part, it’s the Goodman/Winstead/Gallagher show for the longest time and it’s a great one. All three are pros and are able to bring out the smallest, but most meaningful details in their characters that make them all the more humane and compelling, even if we’re still foggy on the details of who the hell they actually are, as opposed to who they say they are.
And this is when 10 Cloverfield Lane starts to run into a slight bit of a problem.
For one, it builds itself so nicely as this small, rather contained chiller-thriller of sorts, that when it decides to turn the other cheek and be something a bit bigger and more explosive, it seems a bit off. Not unwelcome, but odd in the way that it seems like one half of the film was directed by Trachtenberg, and the other half was filmed by someone else, entirely. I won’t say exactly why this is a problem, but just know, it’s a bit of a shame to see 10 Cloverfield Lane go from something so smart and exciting, to something a bit less subtle and more wacky.
Still though, for the longest time, it’s a fun movie that clearly shows why advertising in the movie-business, above all else, pays off in the long run. This may not be good for the future of films, but hey, it’s something that’s going to continue to catch the world by storm.
So freakin’ deal with it!
Consensus: It may get a little wild in its last act, but for the longest time, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a fun, exciting, and well-acted tale that’s been shredded in so much secrecy, it’s hard to picture what’s going to happen next.
8 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire