Science Fiction films, they can take the shape and form of just about anything these days. Back in 2008, a found footage film entitled Cloverfield was unleashed onto the world that left many in a daze of confusion. After the conclusion of the film, and a nightmarish camera work, many weren’t expecting a continuation of this series. Yet instead of dying out, it seems Abrams‘ production company had other ideas and secretly worked on a “blood relative” sequel to Cloverfield. This weekend we get to see the results of their work in the form of 10 Cloverfield Lane. Let’s see what madness they have cooking.
When you see the trailer, you see that this sequel looks nothing like its predecessor. The plot centers on Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young woman who is caught up in a bad accident. She awakes in a bunker alongside a country farmhand named Emmet (John Gallagher Jr.) and a paranoid former marine named Howard (John Goodman). The excuse for the safe house is that the world has succumbed to an attack that resulted in the air being too toxic to breathe. Yet is there really a threat outside or is it all in Howard’s head.
Doesn’t sound like the most exciting plot huh? Well you are correct. 10 Cloverfield certainly lacks the exciting pace of this film as they trade running through a devastated city for sitting in a bunker. Yet despite this trade, the story remains interesting due to the mystery that lies within it. Is the world really in an uninhabitable state, or is this just Howard’s paranoia weaving a tale to keep prisoners. This question kept me engaged into the plot, my mind always trying to uncover clues that hinted at the answers. The suspense continues to build through the movie, steadily growing with the tension as Michelle slowly uncovers the truth of the situation. Eventually the situation comes to full boil and provides the connections you are looking for in regards to its place in the Cloverfield universe.
Still sound boring? Well fortunately Trachtenberg’s direction provided some horror elements to the mix as well. The psychological terror of Howard further builds the intensity, making you wonder when he will snap. And it is the realism of the terror that truly keeps you on the edge and drops the cheesy scares that most other horror movies choose to use. But while direction is key to keeping the movie organized, it is the actors that are responsible for bringing the scenes to life.
And it is the acting component that shines the most for me in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Goodman is still as impressive as always, the roles he continues to tackle proving he is a fantatic actor. He nails the borderline psychotic, lacing his lines with that quiet, subtle whisper that mimics his instability. Even his nonverbal acting is on point as he brings a haunted look to his face that brings shiver to the spine. Winstead also brings her character to life, adding edge to a role that could have been very monochromatic. Michelle’s character required a lot of different emotions, and Winstead brings it all out in full force. As for Gallagher, he was very convincing in his role, but it just wasn’t a part that really stood out to me, pretty much only a nice medium to add a little more complexity to the film.
In terms of weaknesses what can be said about 10 Cloverfield lane. First off the plot is a little slow at the start and focuses more on the psychological components of the film. While it was certainly important, it was a little boring for me. The second big complaint I had was the tie in with the series. I’ll admit it is fitting and stays in spirit with the themes of the movie. However, when compared to the theme of the film, the last part felt a little out of place for me and took the movie in a different direction for the last fifteen minutes. I guess they have to set up the next film, but still all of the tricks pulled out of this film were a little too corny at times.
Overall this follow up was much better than I anticipated. It is suspenseful, it’s intriguing, and even more it’s terrifying to watch the drama unfold. A fantastic cast brings all of this to life and plays their roles so well you might fin it disturbing to watch. Therefore those with weak constitutions and unable to watch some intense crime drama scenes should maybe skip this trip. However, I encourage everyone who is a fan of Sci or mysteries to give this film a try and get a dose of suspense yourself, though may not be theater worthy in the grand scheme of things.
Overall my scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.5