Through the years we have experienced many sequels that the audience have never wanted or felt that was necessary. In turn, we have what we call a ‘blood relative’ to another movie. ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ isn’t a sequel or a prequel to the 2008 Sci-Fi film ‘Cloverfield’, but it’s a connection to the surrounding story. The idea of seeing what other people were experiencing during the alien invasion of New York was toyed around by JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves for a while. Queue in one of the most talked about unproduced scripts of 2012 titled ‘The Cellar’. Not long after it was picked up, it was slightly tweaked to resemble the events during ‘Cloverfield’.
Starring John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the film follows the story of Michelle (Winstead) who crashes her car and is then taken into a war shelter that is owned by Howard (Goodman). After waking up chained to a pole in an abandoned room, Howard then explains that there has been a nuclear attack and that she cannot leave unless she wants to become infected. I won’t continue with the story as there are plenty of surprises and twists on the way. The few things I can say are that John Goodman is terrifying yet incredible in his role. Backed up by a very good performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the film is very lucky to get such great performances from actors that haven’t given either a great performance ever or a great performance for a long time.
From the very first minute, the film grabbed me and kept me at the edge of my seat. The claustrophobic nature of the setting made the tension grow even more too. Throughout, the twists and turns in the story kept me engaged; it also helped that the characters were interesting too. Their personalities are unpredictable and you never know what’s going to happen next. The direction by Dan Trachtenberg is very good; especially for a first time feature film maker. His shooting style is very similar to Hitchcock, which is perfect for this tense claustrophobic thriller. The young American director has bags of potential, so he is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.
The negative comments I have on ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ firstly is its ending. To have a film that’s so tense throughout the majority of the movie and to suddenly turn into a sci-fi in the last ten minutes really affected my opinion of it towards the end. I was so engrossed by the characters relationships with each other in this tiny setting that worked so well. I feel like it only went sci-fi at the end was to accommodate the ‘Cloverfield’ connection. I honestly think the film would be outstanding if it wasn’t for the connection to ‘Cloverfield’. The film would have worked even better on its own merit.
Overall, I was very surprised by the whole outcome of the movie. John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead pull off great performances in the film. Directed extremely well by newbie Dan Trachtenberg and a brilliant premise have made ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ one of the must see films this year. 4 out of 5 stars.