10 Cloverfield Lane

"Very Good"

10 Cloverfield Lane Review


Rather than a sequel or spin-off, this is a spiritual successor to 2008's Cloverfield, a terrifically tense thriller that builds a genuine sense of horror. Director Dan Trachtenberg deploys a range of Hitchcock-style tricks to establish characters and crank up layers of intensity, keeping everything unnervingly close to the boiling point. When everything finally erupts, the climax is exhilarating, even if it never quite finds a sense of meaning beneath the surface.

It opens as Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is packing up and leaving her flat, driving through the Louisiana countryside. Her fiance (voiced by Bradley Cooper) calls and tries to coax her into coming back, but she drives on determinedly. Then as the radio reports news of rolling unexplained blackouts, she's in a serious car crash and wakes up chained to a pipe in an unfinished room. Her host Howard (John Goodman) claims to have saved her life, bringing her to his fallout bunker just as everyone above-ground was killed by some sort of attack. And there's another guy taking refuge in the bunker, the rather goofy Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who like Michelle doubts Howard's story and rebels against his strict rules.

This is a rare film that manages to create thoroughly believable characters in just a few moments of back-story, then push them together in ways that continually surprise us. The snappy script uses wit and suggestion to undermine scenes with subtext as their power games escalate. So the tug of war between these three people has both subtle layers of intrigue as well as some seriously nasty conflict. Where this goes is impossible to predict, because all three actors are so good at portraying characters who are only pretending to trust each other. Goodman has never played a role like this, and is excellent as a nerdy religious nutcase who may or may not be a psychopath. Gallagher adds continual touches that undermine Howard's authority. And Winstead anchors the film as a smart, resourceful woman who refuses to accept anything at face value.

Accompanied by Bear McCready's nerve-jangling musical score, the film builds a relentlessly oppressive atmosphere that can't help but be a bit disappointing when it finally bursts into all-out chaos. Thankfully, Trachtenberg avoids being too explicit about showing everything that's going on here, depicting the climactic events without resorting to cheap visuals or obvious moralising. This makes the film thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, like a perfectly designed rollercoaster. But without any underlying resonance, the movie's impact is oddly muted.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane



10 Cloverfield Lane

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th March 2016

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: Bad Robot Productions

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Bad Robot

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Dan Trachtenberg

Producer: , Lindsey Weber

Starring: as Michelle, as Howard, as Emmett, Maya Erskine as Darcy, Douglas M. Griffin as Driver, Cindy Hogan as Neighbor Woman, as Ben (voice)

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.