Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
Screenplay: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
104 mins. Rated PG-13 for thematic material including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language.
What is 10 Cloverfield Lane? Is it a sequel to Cloverfield? How is it actually connected? What the hell is actually going on here? Lots of questions circulate the pseudo-sequel, or as J.J. Abrams calls it, the “spiritual successor” to Cloverfield, ever since its trailer premiered in front of 13 Hours after filming was completed without anyone really knowing about it. The idea is brilliant, but it remains with a follow-up question: Was it worth it?
SPOILER ALERT: A film like 10 Cloverfield Lane has been shrouded in so much secrecy that many would consider any discussion to be spoilery. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of the spoiler territory and tread lightly here, but for all you spoiler purists out there, this is a heads up.
When Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Final Destination 3, Faults) wakes up in an underground bunker handcuffed to a pipe, she doesn’t understand what’s going on. It isn’t until she meets her captor, Howard (John Goodman, Monsters, Inc., Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle) that she learns of a horrible truth: there has been an attack on American soil. Everyone else is dead. She meets Emmett (John Gallagher Jr., TV’s The Newsroom, Short Term 12) who backs up the claim but doesn’t have any proof. So the question remains: Is Howard telling the truth? Or is Michelle in more danger beneath the soil? Also, it has Cloverfield in the title, so there’s that.
I spend the entirety of the film trying to tie it to Cloverfield. I’ll tell you right now, the film is tied to Cloverfield, but if you haven’t seen the original film, you could enjoy this one all the same.
John Goodman gives an award-worthy performance as the jealous and tense Howard, and he is met on an almost-equal playing field by Winstead and Gallagher here, as this single-location thriller unfolds. Director Dan Trachtenberg plays the claustrophobia well here, not overdoing it but letting the story dictate when. It’s a tautly-edited film, packed with great set design and excellent dialogue.
This entire film is exactly what it should be with one exception concerning the film’s ending (which I actually really enjoyed, but I also wanted more). I really can’t get too much into it, but I will say this: I’ve heard Abrams discuss a possible third installment, and I cannot wait. Not that this film sets up a sequel so much. I just want to see the next direction the series will take. After the stunning found-footage Cloverfield and the tightly-wound thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane, I just…I want more!
So there you have it. See this damn movie! It’s the best film I’ve seen this year (so far, of course, but all the same). If you didn’t like Cloverfield or couldn’t sit through the found-footage, that’s fine. Go to 10 Cloverfield Lane. Now.
-Kyle A. Goethe
So have you seen 10 Cloverfield Lane? What did you think? Did you catch the cameo at the beginning? Let me know!