10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) Movie Review
“NO! NO! No, no! No! Don’t open that door! You’re going to get all of us killed!”
10 Cloverfield Lane is the spiritual sequel to 2008’s big hit Cloverfield. This time around, it’s much smaller, more confined, and much more intense. In the opening scene, we are introduced to Michelle (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who after surviving a car accident, wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker with two men. Howard (played by John Goodman) has held Michelle and Emmett (played by John Gallagher) hostage for unknown reasons, claiming that the outside world is unsafe because the air has become unbreathable. Michelle becomes suspicious of Howard, questioning his sanity and planning to uncover the truth.
10 Cloverfield Lane is directed by first-director Dan Trachtenberg, who does a marvelous job at creating genuine suspense and the feeling of confinement and claustrophobia constantly throughout. He does misdirect the audience many times, creating a tension-filled thriller that’s unpredictable and could go either way. It’s built in a way where we don’t know who exactly to trust. The tension is always engaging the audience, because the characters are always on edge and never feel completely safe in such a tight location. This film is so intense and keeps its audience on edge from start to finish.
One thing to not go in expecting is Cloverfield 2. Because this is more of a semi-sequel rather than a direct follow-up. It has a completely different story, characters, setting and it’s built up in a completely different away. But in the end, it’s a better crafted film for many reasons.
The peformances in this film are stellar. John Goodman perfectly plays his character, a man whose sanity is always being questioned and if he is telling the truth or not. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic as well, who is smart, determined and a perfect protagonist. John Gallagher plays the supporting character very well, while never stealing the spotlight off of our main two characters.
The cinematography is fantastic. It’s a lot different from the first film because this in fact, isn’t a found footage film. Yet, we as an audience still feel thoroughly engaged and constantly surprised by the film’s twist and tensity. The way it was filmed was perfect and the lighting dimly reflects the film’s tone.
Drew Goddard and Daniel Casey write the film’s screenplay, which is pretty fantastic. It’s written in a way where the audience is always on edge, and develops the character’s extremely well. It’s underlying the film’s production very well and feels realistic and investing for the audience.
The musical score composed by Bear McCreary is pretty great, creating an underlying tone for the movie to be supported upon and helps to build tension throughout.
The pacing is stand-out fantastic here. It’s paced so perfectly and the film never has an uninteresting or dull moment.
Everything about the first 90 minutes of 10 Cloverfield Lane are a masterful, tension-filled, at times amusing but overall dark production. The last 10 minutes, however, are still fun, but completely sacrifice what the rest of the film had going for it for a finale that’s dumb and tries to be too big when the rest of the film was able to be so intense due to how held back it was. It feels like a different movie in fact, but that’s really the only flaw here. Everything else is perfect, and the film is still amazing nevertheless a dumb ending.
Consensus: 10 Cloverfield Lane is a held back, thrilling claustrophobic thriller that’s intensity comes from it’s confined location and savage human nature. It’s a fantastic directorial debut and perfectly acted film. It’s able to misdirect the audience perfectly without sacrificing logical or realism effect that the rest of the film has.
Final Grade: A