10 Cloverfield Lane (2015)

Monsters come in many forms.

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.

This is the movie that almost came out of nowhere. Of course there were a few rumblings about a Cloverfield sequel over the years but who really expected 10 Cloverfield Lane to drop when it did, and that secretly? There was a lot of unknowns about this film and as someone who was never a big fan of the original Cloverfield I was kind of curious to see how a sequel, especially one so far removed from the original first film release way back in 2008 would turn out. A quick journey to the Cinema after a day of sitting in lectures and 105minuites of running time later, 10 Cloverfield Lane quickly turned out to be easily the tensest and scariest time that I have had at the Cinema so far this year. And it says something about how good this film is that I don’t see that changing by the end of the year, either.

10 Cloverfield Lane is directed by Dan Trachtenberg and for a debut feature-length film it works really well. Making maximum use of a small, confined space and minimal characters, the pace is remarkably well done and the film never feels bloated. The tension is great right the way through and although the ending may not quite live up to the rest of the film, it is still effective and won’t ruin the experience for you. The film itself follows Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character Michelle, who is fleeing a breakup with her boyfriend when she falls victim to a car crash. Michelle then awakens in a bunker underground, alone and afraid. She believes she’s been kidnapped. However, Howard – played fantastically by John Goodman – sees it differently. He believes he’s rescued her from an attack that’s wiped out civilization as we know it, and there is no longer an outside world to go back to. Is he a crazy conspiracy theorist? Or are his beliefs real? That is what Michelle will have to question, and that’s all I’m going to tell you about this movie in this review, because the less you know about it going in, the better. What I’ve told you here you’ll know from the trailers. That’s it. Trust me, you don’t want to be spoiled going in.

The performances by the three actors are pretty good indeed. There is no need for a Kaiju in this film, John Goodman’s presence is intimidating enough. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character Michelle is compelling, engaging and you’ll want to get behind her and see that she survives to the end of the film. There’s also John Gallagher Jr playing Emmett, a fellow person in the bunker, but there are question marks around him as well. Can he be trusted? Or is he an antagonist? The suspense, complete with tense unpredictability remains with you throughout the film, right from the opening scene showing Michelle leaving her other half behind. It’s the only time you’ll hear Bradley Cooper’s voice in the movie. The direction is tense and claustrophobic, with some great scenes that really work well, making the best out of the confined space that the characters find themselves in. The haunting score is designed to get as many scares out of you as possible, but none of them feel cheap or easy, and are for the most part, actually scary.

This is one of those films that will keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire running time, hooking you in right from the first car crash to the last scene. Likely to be one of the best movies of the year, 10 Cloverfield Lane may share little similarities with the original Cloverfield but as a result is a hundred times superior, and a hundred times more gripping. Go see it on the big screen.

VERDICT: 9/10

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