Kept under lock and key 10 Cloverfield Lane, produced by J.J Abrams, came out of nowhere at the start of the year with a trailer that knocked some socks off. Unsurprisingly, the film seemed to be visually intriguing and the premise more so. And with this years sci-fi-thriller answer to Room, 10 Cloverfield Lane delivers throughout. Codenamed The Cellar for most of its production, surprise is this films best friend, with everything from its production to the films narrative end revealed at the perfect moment.
John Goodman’s Howard is wonderfully weird and with ambiguous motivations for much of the film, it is hard to get a grasp on where his character is going. The climax of said character and his demise is brutal and confronting, in a great way. One of the more nuanced aspects of the film is the Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Emmett’s (John Gallagher Jr.) ‘love story’, for lack of a better term. Emmett’s perceived ignorance or naivety as to why Howard is keeping them in the bunker, never questioning the wild conspiracies being thrown around, is a complete contrast to Michelle’s fear and curiosity that is the anchor for much of the film.
What you will love in 10 Cloverfield Lane is refreshingly not in the trailers, something that is becoming more and more rare. It pivots the viewer constantly towards where the film is going to end but handles it well enough, the back fifth of the movie could have been a little tighter and more efficient. In saying this, there are many “Oh shit!” moments that are super satisfying and are well worth the wait. Relying on tension to keep this ball rolling, the film is absolutely palpably tense at times with a real curiosity as to what lies ahead.
Seemingly wide open for another sequel, the film doesn’t commit to finality. Just as this was an interesting diversion from the first Cloverfield film, another take on the idea would be appealing. As 10 Cloverfield Lane leaves the ending a little to on-the-nose for a direct sequel, it would be nice to see Abrams and Trachtenberg for that matter take the film in another direction or tell another in-line story. A gripping, clever, well crafted, edge of your seat film that holds its cards close to its chest for an almighty reveal; bring on another one.
A gripping, clever, well crafted, edge of your seat film that holds its cards close to its chest for an almighty reveal; bring on another one.