10 Cloverfield Lane – Review

Barry Quinn

Barry Quinn is an English Language and Literature graduate and a Creative Writer MA studier. He is an aspiring creative and professional writer and is currently in the process of writing his first novel. His writing blog can be viewed here: https://barrygjquinn.wordpress.com You can follow him on Twitter at: @mrbarryquinn

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The ‘spiritual successor’ of 2008’s Cloverfield was filmed in secret, and it wasn’t until January of this year that anybody was even aware of its existence.

Shrouded in secrecy, 10 Cloverfield Lane will not be the film you’re hoping it will be – if you’re expecting the same characters and monster from Cloverfield, you’ll be sorely disappointed. 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a direct continuation, and there’s a high chance that it doesn’t even exist in the same universe.

So is it any good? Surprisingly, it manages to exceed Cloverfield on every level.

This is a film you won’t want me to spoil, so I’ll keep the plot elements thin. From the trailer you can see that the majority of the film takes place in a small bunker. In fact, around 90 percent of 10 Cloverfield Lane takes place in a handful of rooms. You may expect the outside scenes which directly relate to an alien incursion to be the best, but surprisingly they’re not.

The cast is limited. John Goodman (Howard) is exceptionally creepy and he’ll leave you wondering what his true motives are even after the final credits have finished rolling.

Equally brilliant is Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, who wakes up in Howard’s bunker following a car crash and must come to terms with her new life. She’s told the air outside is contaminated, but she isn’t wholly convinced.

And finally we have John Gallagher, Jr., who doesn’t really manage to steal many scenes like his co-stars. Though, there is this one scene…

Like it’s predecessor, 10 Cloverfield Lane is dripping with ambiguity. It’s a tense, claustrophobic movie that’ll have you questioning every facial expression or word muttered. It’ll also have you literally on the edge of your seat, especially towards its conclusion.

The film’s outcome is slightly predictable, but it’ll nevertheless have you engaged from start to finish. There’s an ambiguous ending, too, though this one seemingly confirms that a sequel is happening, unlike Cloverfield.

This is a scary movie. If you’re scared of the dark or confined spaces, it’ll suck you in even more.

My only niggle is that I wish the scares had been amped up even further. I wish this was a 15 certificate rather than a 12. That scene in the air vent could have been so much scarier, as could the discovery Michelle makes around halfway through.

The found-footage format in Cloverfield worked so well, but that formal constraint hasn’t been replicated here. And yet somehow 10 Cloverfield Lane still works.

The primary focus is Michelle, and the lingering shots on her tortured face will draw you in on every emotional level, much like Rob’s camera footage in the first movie. It works better this time around. This time we’re seeing everything JJ Abrams wants us to see, rather than merely what Rob can see.

Go into this movie with as little prior knowledge as possible, and prepare to be sucked into John Goodman’s ridiculously good performance. No prior knowledge of Cloverfield is needed, but you’ll love every last second you spend in this universe.

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