‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ film review’
By Mike LeMieux, Contributor
In 2008, Paramount Pictures released Cloverfield, a big-budget found-footage monster movie that was developed under much secrecy. Rumours circulated for months leading up to release that producer J.J. Abram’s studio was making a new Voltron or even Godzilla movie, creating a feverish anticipation among audiences eager to find out just what the hell Cloverfield was.
Earlier this year, Paramount and J.J. Abrams tried to recapture this magic by releasing trailers for 10 Cloverfield Lane without ever formally announcing the film. Filmed secretly under a codename, no parties involved would even confirm whether the film was connected to Cloverfield or not. Paramount’s under-marketing of 10 Cloverfield Lane works heavily in its advantage, creating an air of mystery around the movie.
Similar to the plot of Stephen King’s Misery, the protagonist Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself captive in an underground bunker following an accident. Her captor, Howard (John Goodman), tells her that an apocalyptic event has taken place and that they are possibly the last people alive. Michelle, Howard, and bunker-mate Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) try to live peacefully together as they unravel more about the mysteries surrounding the event and each other.
By the nature of the film being primarily set in a small environment with only three characters, quite a bit of the movie hinges on their performances. Winstead does well to carry the movie as the central character, and Gallagher provides quite a few laughs amidst the tense dialogue.
John Goodman, however, gives the standout performance here. His cold stares, terrifying rants, and generally creepy mannerisms will leave you going back and forth on whether Howard is a tragic hero or a damaged antagonist. Each of his scenes will have you sitting on the edge of your seat with sweaty palms. All three actors work well together to create a gripping and memorable experience.
With little direct story connection to the original Cloverfield viewers won’t have to worry about being caught up with any sort of overarching plot. While stylistically different in many ways, the themes of Cloverfield carry over with an exploration of life in the wake of disaster and how it can change a person.
All in all, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a solid thriller. It provides the audience with an anxiety-inducing web of mystery and provokes questions you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve left the theatre.