Brand new film 10 Cloverfield Lane made for an unsettling, thrilling and enigmatic watch. Dan Trachtenberg’s first film left me off-balance throughout which allowed for the more unnerving themes present to seep beneath the skin.
The alleged post apocalyptic state of affairs plays out as a drama between the only three characters; Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Howard (John Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jnr). As revelations unfold and with no information about the outside world quite adding up, the film speeds towards a gut-wrenching ending. As if my footing wasn’t uneven enough during the beginning and middle of this film, the divisive final scenes certainly swept my legs from underneath me.
Michelle awakens from a car crash manacled in the basement of Howard’s bomb shelter. The setting of such an enclosed environment feeds into the claustrophobic, tense and sub-hostile atmosphere. An overbearing and unshakeable notion of captivity establishes itself in Michelle’s thoughts. No matter how many explanations of above ground catastrophic events Howard plies Michelle with she remains unconvinced. As we get to know the past of the characters Howard’s unhinged personality becomes ever more exposed. This combined with his formidable presence given to his large stature causes him to appear very threatening. Not the sort of person you want to be trapped in a small space with, especially given the tag line of the movie “monsters come in many forms.”
Why watch this movie? Not specifically because you like Cloverfield, that’s for sure. Now for those who are clued up on the Cloverfield world you will be aware there is a huge amount of lore (Slusho, satellites and more) that I won’t get into, but the film occasionally nods to them. Needless to say the Cloverfield fan base has been eagerly awaiting this release and, as forewarned by the creators, the possible links between the two films are tenuous at best. What we knew going in was that this film is only tangentially linked, meaning it’s possibly within the same universe as Cloverfield. This is likely down to the involvement of J.J. Abrams as the script was originally envisaged to take a entirely different path.
You should watch this movie because John Goodman kills it as a mild sociopath with abrupt swings of mood and hints of malice. Both Winstead and Gallagher Jnr also nail their roles. As a stand alone 1-hour-43-minute movie it performs well and will have you exclaiming “oh snap” under your breath on numerous occasions.
Good film. Check it out.
By Zachary Whyte