Review of '10 Cloverfield Lane'

10_cloverfield.jpg Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is upset having just ended a romantic relationship and, distraught, is involved in a dramatic car accident. She wakes to find herself in a concrete room chained to a pole. We learn that Howard (John Goodman), a quirky recluse, has not only built the bunker she finds herself in but has also rescued her from the end of the world. They share the bunker with Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), a young man who helped Howard work on the bunker and was determined to be one of its occupants when disaster finally came. The bunker has everything they need to wait out the disaster with an ample supplies of food and drink, an entertainment area, air purifier, and toilet/bath facilities. Michelle is sceptical about what Howard has told her of the end of the world so later tries to make a break for it as she attacks Howard, taking his keys and running for the main entrance only to be violently confronted by a victim of the external disaster. Is Howard really a well-meaning saviour or does he have more sinister intentions? Has there really been an apocalypse? How long will they be stuck in the bunker?

An amazing, well-written, piece of suspense and character drama with Goodman putting on an amazing performance as Howard always keeping us questioning his true motives. His pride and honour seeming to be without emotion yet he strives for compassion. This is a tortured soul who seems to have more than a few secrets and the ability to lash out at a moment's notice. This unpredictability keeps us captivated and guessing what might happen next. Goodman plays this character faultlessly and with such conviction it sends chills down the spine.

It has to be said that Winstead also puts in an admirable performance as the fish-out-of-water yet very MacGyver-esqe Michelle (she would likely be dangerous with two cotton swabs and a box of Cheerios). She is certainly determined to free herself from her perceived incarceration with whatever it is she has to hand which, to me, does seem a bit far-fetched.

These intense characters draw us into the story and drama as it unfolds in this tense atmosphere with the two strong personalities playing a game of wills with one another.

The claustrophobia of the bunker is palatable as the tension ramps up and up. The story keeps us guessing until the very end with the slow-pace of the middle third of the movie followed by an intensive action-packed, surprising, finale. The entire film has more than few shades of the original Cloverfield movie though without the stomach-clenching shaky camera action…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2017-06-17

Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Year: 2016

Length: 104 minutes

Genre: Horror