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

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

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.