“10 Cloverfield Lane” Film Review

Rarely do I find a film this early on in the year that I love…but 10 Cloverfield Lane is one well made, intense film that could easily end up on my 2016 top ten list.

First time director Dan Trachtenberg may have a bright future ahead of him after this directorial debut.  With a screenplay from Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken & Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) & J.J. Abrams (Cloverfield, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) returning to produce this not-so sequel, this film is one of the most thrilling, well acted suspense films that I have seen in years.  Let’s add John Goodman to the list of Oscar possibilities, please.

Michelle (played superbly by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has just fled her apartment, leaving her engagement ring behind.  She sets out in her car to flee the area, ignoring her ex-fiance’s phone calls (voiced by Bradley Cooper) as she drives.  However, very soon into her trip, Michelle is hit by a vehicle and flung off the road.

Michelle wakes up in a strange, concrete room with an IV in her arm & her leg strapped to the wall with handcuffs.  She begins to panic immediately, trying to grab her phone on the other side of the room.  However, there is no service where she is and her panic begins to grow.

In comes Howard (Goodman), a tough-looking man trying to explain to Michelle that he saved her life from the accident.  Yet, she doesn’t understand why she cannot go to the hospital.  So, Howard continues to explain that she is a bunker below his farm house because the world has been attacked by outside forces.  He is not sure if it’s Russian, extra-terrestrial, etc.  All he knows is that when the attack happened, it left the air outside contaminated.  And Howard being an-ex marine knew that something like this would happen, hence why he built the bunker.

Michelle is still skeptical about Howard’s story, as he seems like some psychotic person out to kidnap random people.  She is also discovers that another man, Emmett (played by John Gallagher Jr.) is also living in the bunker.  He helped Howard build the bunker, so he knew where to go once the attack happened.

As time goes on Michelle tries to maneuver her way out of the situation, revealing the missing puzzle pieces & discovering new mysteries along the way.  However, her and Emmett must be careful because you do not want to piss Howard off, for he is not afraid to pull some horrifying strings.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a superb performance as Michelle.  She is dedicated to giving us the right amount of urgency without going over the top.  She and John Gallagher Jr. work well together as two outsiders trying to figure out what the hell is going on.  But the real showstopper is Mr. John Goodman, giving us his best performance in many years. This man can play the psycho type character very well, but then he snaps into this man that you try to sympathize with, wondering if he really is just trying to help Michelle out. It’s an Oscar caliber performance that deserves to be on the Best Supporting Actor list.

David Trachtenberg’s direction is also very good, making you feel claustrophobic as you watch these people in the bunker.  I loved his opening, going for sort of a indie feel and then switching over to this “BANG!” with the opening credits.  Top that off with a very strong screenplay from Damien Chazelle, Josh Campbell & Matthew Stuecken, & you have one of the best scary films in history.

Conclusion:

10 Cloverfield Lane is just as good as critics say & should not be missed.  John Goodman steals the film with his intense performance, while Winstead & Gallagher Jr. do an excellent job as well.  Rated PG-13.

5 diamonds

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