“10 Cloverfield Lane” Movie Review

John Goodman: the likable, quotable actor. NO! John Goodman: one of the most disturbing movie characters in recent memory. That’s what we can take away from 10 Cloverfield Lane. This science-fiction horror-thriller movie premiered on March 11th, 2016. In what appears to the most secretive marketing campaign I’ve seen in quite a while, rumors of another Cloverfield movie floated around for a few years, and then the fist teaser trailer was attached to Michael Bay’s 13 Hours; almost two months before its release. Before I begin, however, I want to make it clear that this movie really has nothing to do with the first Cloverfield movie, aside from name only. It could be set within the same universe, but to go in-depth would be to spoil the surprise, so here is the only spoiler I’ll give: go out and watch 10 Cloverfield Lane. So after trying to leave her boyfriend following an argument, Michelle ends up in a major car accident in rural Louisiana. When she wakes up, she’s in a doomsday bunker below the surface, and is greeted by the proprietor Howard. Now Howard claims that he saved her life, and that the world outside as they once knew it is gone and they are the only humans left alive. There’s also Emmett, a man who claims to have witnessed the catastrophe first-hand. These three survivors try to get along with one another while waiting for the disaster above ground to blow over. Capturing tension and intrigue in a relatively confined area is tough. But keeping a good pacing is another. Make the story too slow, and the audience will find themselves bored out of their minds. Make it speedy fast, people will struggle to understand what’s going on. Yet somehow, director Dan Trachtenberg expertly pulled off these two obstacles, and delivers one heck of a tense movie. In case the intro wasn’t clear, John Goodman’s performance as Howard absolutely steals the show. Let me be clear: Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. both did a great job, but without spoiling much, Goodman’s character is really the point of the movie. This guy is unpredictable, he is creepy, and just like the movie itself, he’s ambiguous. It becomes apparent throughout the story that, fallout or not, you really don’t want to be stuck underground in this dude’s bunker ever. There are also some fairly violent scenes, but I’m going to stand up and say “this is the most violent movie of the year.” That honor goes to Deadpool. But there are a couple of moments that are shocking for a setting like this. This only adds more to the ever-growing tension. And while that tension felt dissipated by the finale, there was some nail-biting intrigue to make up for that. In the end, 10 Cloverfield Lane is not the direct sequel many fans had hoped for, but is still a strong spiritual successor. A smart and well-acted thriller, it’s already in the running for one of the year’s most memorable films thanks to the claustrophobic tension and uneasy feeling of trust. I can see many routes of where this movie could go as the start of a new franchise.

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