10 Cloverfield Lane: Let the Claustrophobia Settle In

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

The original Cloverfield film, produced by J.J. Abrams, dabbled in found-footage alien invasion horror films, from what I can remember of it. So it comes as a surprise that 10 Cloverfield Lane, from Dan Trachtenberg in his directorial debut, is less of a sequel to its predecessor, and more of a stand-alone series revival of a live-action thriller, that might be sequel material. First it must prove itself, and it certainly does. The acting and the suspenseful nature of the film, carry this film the mile long to make this a great revival. Also it should be noted that the marketing and the trailer to this film are a prime example of how to sell a movie without giving anything away. Before carrying on with this review, take a look at the teaser trailer and let it entice you into possibly reading further or going to see the film. Sadly this review will contain the basic plot summaries in order to represent the magic of the film and the way it was marketed. 

The films starts out with the central protagonist Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in a state of distraught, as she is packing up all her belongings from an apartment she shared with her partner, as the Bear McCreary score is the only thing heard. Michelle is involved in a car crash and ends up chained to a bed that is located in a bunker. This is where she meets Howard (John Goodman), who claims he is there to help her, but has a temper that might explode at any minute in this claustrophobic setting. Also under Howard's care is Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who has a care-free spirit about him that keeps things light amidst being in a bunker with the temperamental Howard. Everyone is in the bunker due to it not being safe outside, and the claustrophobia and the temperamental nature of Howard create most of the atmospheric sense of paranoia and horror for the most part of the film. 

Where the original Cloverfield dabbled with the notions of creating horror out of found footage, 10 Cloverfield Lane creates the horror due to the intense and character-driven performance of John Goodman's Howard. Many are calling it a career performance for Goodman, and they are right. My only criticism is that the score sometimes overstays its welcome, especially when Howard and Michelle are delivering a monologue. Seriously, don't drown out John Goodman while he's delivering his lines! Not cool. When it comes down to it, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a great example of a standalone sequel that no one expected, and the marketing should be the staple on how to sell a film. 

Rating: 4/5


--Remi hosts At the Movies (with Iconic Sounds) every Tuesday at 8 AM, only on CJLO.