10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane


Monsters come in many forms.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. (TV's Newsroom) lead this follow-up to Cloverfield. No longer in found-footage, this "blood relative" to the 2008 sci-fi thriller is set in a bomb shelter. Co-written by the creator of Whiplash and directed by Dan Trachtenberg, known for his impressive fan-film Portal: No Escape.

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Flicks Review

When a surprise teaser trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane turned up a few months ago, it set tongues wagging about what connection it would have to 2008’s monster romp Cloverfield. Producer JJ Abrams declared it a “spiritual successor”, but while Cloverfield spanned a good deal of New York as it was torn apart by an alien beast, its Louisiana-set namesake traffics in claustrophobia.... More

Shortly into proceedings, Mary Elizabeth Winstead awakes after a car accident to find herself in John Goodman’s bunker, where she tries to process his news that the world outside is ending. What transpires is a terrific, compact thriller with yet another great performance from Goodman (equal parts terrifying and amusing), and an equally good one from Winstead, our focal point as we wrestle along with her about what is actually going on outside the bunker, and inside Goodman’s head.

The film plays coy right up until the end, and it’s obvious why they’ve kept details scarce. It’s the type of film best seen fresh, as its main pleasures come from that increasingly rare feeling of genuinely not knowing what’s going to happen.

10 Cloverfield Lane feels much shorter than its 2 hour run time, thanks to first-time director Dan Trachtenberg’s economic storytelling, and a cracking script co-written by Whiplash writer-director Damien Chazelle (originally set to direct, until Whiplash was greenlit). There’s a real Twilight Zone vibe to it, and if Abrams and co intend this as part two in an ongoing series, we should hope we don’t have to wait another eight years for the next one.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 15 ratings, 9 reviews
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BY cinemusefilm superstar

Many movie lovers will leave this film with a dilemma swirling in their mind: can a poorly conceived and poorly directed ending be ignored while you hang on to the memory of the brilliant film that almost was? In cinema, the answer is usually no because we remember a film backwards via the way the story ended. The ending is also the key to how we read a film and how we apply genre codes to make sense of cinematic storytelling. This film traverses three totally different but often compatible... More genres: the psychological thriller, the horror/gore, and the science fantasy, in that order. Note that the last one is not the same as science fiction, a respectable genre that creatively draws on the logic of science. The film 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) starts brilliantly as a thriller, drops a gear or two as horror, and then has an inexcusable brain-snap as mediocre science fantasy.

The linear plotline opens with soon-to-be-married Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) walking out on her fiancé only to drive straight into a horrific car crash. She wakes up chained inside a bunker and is held captive by Howard (John Goodman), a doomsday prophet who built the sealed underground structure in anticipation of a major global event. He eventually convinces her that the outside world is now a post-apocalyptic and uninhabitable mess. His neighbour Emmett (John Gallagher) is the only other actor and becomes a confidante for Michelle, but not for long. For the first three-quarters of the film, tension builds then slowly flattens while Michelle becomes accepting of her plight in a claustrophobic space with all the comforts of home. When Howard’s temper shifts into horror and gore mode, Michelle takes flight only to stumble into a B-grade science fantasy set created with last century computer graphics. Everything this film achieves in terms of emotional tension, doubt, confusion, and of course, unbridled fear…then goes up in a puff a smoke.

John Goodman’s imposing girth, menacing bluster and steely gaze entertainingly convey total terror with enough glimpses of ‘Mr nice-guy’ to create confusion. For the most part Mary Elizabeth Winstead ably reflects vulnerability, disbelief and fear, although she settles into domesticity rather too easily. The early unfolding story sustains a level of plausibility, even when Howard starts going weird. The real thrill in this film, however, is watching it crash and burn in the last twenty minutes as it runs out of ideas and takes a bad turn in the hope that the applause of science fantasy fans will drown out the boos of thriller fans. But neither group wins as the ending transforms this film into an incoherent and unforgivable mess.Hide

BY Booper superstar

Going into this blind is the secret. The name alone gives too much away.

Enjoyable - Suspenseful film - Can not wait to see what direction the Cloverfield universe takes next.

BY DanielK superstar

Not only had I managed to avoid all spoilers, but I had also pretty much forgotten nearly everything I knew about the original Cloverfield (apart from the sneaking suspicion that I had actually enjoyed the antics of that film’s videotaping idiots more before the monster arrived. Yeah, Cloverfield wasn’t that great, was it…?). So all up I was pretty well-placed to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane as a small-scale, baggage-free, stand-alone thriller - in the end, I’d say that’s definitely the... More best way to go into it.

Essentially what you’ve got (for the most part) is a low-budget but expertly crafted slow-burn suspenser made with just enough Hollywood slickness to keep it from venturing into the territory of the genuinely uncomfortable. The reason that it stays so gripping throughout is twofold. The writing is whip-smart, managing to be blackly funny (great games night), often unpredictable, and with good instincts about when to drop in the occasional hoary thriller cliche for maximum effect. And the performances are top-notch - John Goodman seems to be getting all the plaudits, but the movie stands or falls on Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who takes the tired and potentially thankless role of tank-topped victim and turns it into a movie-star vehicle through sheer force of will - she completely owns this thing from first frame to last.

The final act isn’t going to be to everybody’s taste, but despite the fact that the subject matter might seem like a major departure from what went before it, the playful tone and moderately deranged energy are all of apiece. True, the tension evaporates long before the credits roll, but I was still having plenty of fun and would have been happy to stick around for another twenty minutes just to see what shenanigans Winstead’s Michelle got into next. Overall, super popcorn entertainment.Hide

BY Rick-Vine wannabe

Only a few tense moments and found it a bit boring between them. John Goodman performed well but didn't find there was sufficient misdirection around to get you thinking along one track when the answer was something altogether. The ending was just so unbelievable to make it laughable.

BY Hugo-Burns superstar

Phenomenal direction. Sensational performances. Nail biting and cavity clenching tension. A batshit crazy 3rd act. An excellent throwback to 50s and 60s shows and films such as The Twilight Zone. 10 Cloverfield Lane absolutely blew me away and needs to be seen by everyone. Also, if you live near a true IMAX theatre, go see it there, it's worth it.

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The Press Reviews

90% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The tension is rooted in psychology rather than gimmickry, and evinces a command of craft that feels old-fashioned in the most refreshing possible sense. Full Review

  • Comes loaded with everything a psychological thriller needs to shatter your nerves — and then kicks it up a notch. Full Review

  • A thriller that winds you tighter and tighter before its secrets come tumbling out in a cathartic finale. Full Review

  • All three actors are tremendous, and director Dan Trachtenberg, making his feature debut, must be commended for keeping things tightly focused. Full Review

  • Most of the film takes place in this vacuum-packed, Sartrean hell of other people, which Trachtenberg, his cast, writers and crew evoke with chest-tightening efficiency. Full Review

  • Making an impactful feature debut, Trachtenberg eschews the well-worn found-footage technique in favor of a suspenseful style that’s more consistent with the tense character dynamics... Full Review

  • the determined Winstead, the complexly furious Goodman and Tony-winner John Gallagher Jr. have it out in scenes that impart the nauseating futility of George Romero’s mall-ensconced "Dawn of the Dead." Full Review

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