Star – John Goodman
Genre – Psychological Horror
Run Time – 104 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Awards – 4 Wins & 38 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £4.99 Blue Ray
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So ‘10 Cloverfield Lane’, the feature debut of director Dan Trachtenberg, the movie officially tagged onto the Cloverfield franchise but the only connection being its made by JJ Abrahams Bad Robot company that made the brilliant fun found-footage monster movie Cloverfield. There are no monsters or found footage here. I loved Cloverfield and the way it sent up that all white and Jewish Friends sitcom Manhattan and then smashed it to bits with a swing of the tail. This is an altogether different vibe but worth seeing all the same. Anything JJ Abrahams is involved in is different and smart.
John Goodman ... Howard
Mary Elizabeth Winstead ... Michelle
John Gallagher Jr. ... Emmett
Douglas M. Griffin ... Driver
Suzanne Cryer ... Woman
Bradley Cooper ... Ben (voice)
Sumalee Montano ... Voice on Radio (voice)
Frank Mottek ... Radio Broadcaster (voice)
Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has had a bust up with her boyfriend (an unseen Bradley Cooper) and has packed her stuff from his flat and on the road at night alone in the sticks on the way to her moms. She is then involved in car crash after spinning off the road and wakes up in an underground room on a drip and her leg in a brace. This is not the local hospital.
She is being held against her will by a big lumbering man called Howard (John Goodman). He tells her he is ex military and she is safe now and he has saved her life in his purpose built survivalist bunker and that purpose has arrived. He informs her there has been some sort of attack on America and its probably nuclear, chemical or even aliens and so the air is unclean so he bought her here for safety. Yes right!
Michelle is not having any of it and soon planning her escape. But she is not alone with the weirdo, a young man in the food store called Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) with his arm in a sling, who is far less suspicious of Howard and quite happy to be in the bunker. He lives locally and believes something has happened out there. He tells Michelle that Howard recently lost his daughter just after his wife had left him and grown up watching Howard build the bunker.
After a few days of tension between the three and Howard trying to prove to Michelle it’s unsafe out there and she will die out there she grabs a chance to escape and manages to get to the final air sealed door from freedom. The sun is shining outside and the corn is swaying in the gentle breeze and all looks well. But a truck drives to the glass portal and a woman bangs on the thick sealed glass with blood and strange burns on her face demanding to be let in. Howard pleas with her not to open the door and infect the bunker with external air. Maybe something has happened outside and she is safer inside?
That event calms her fears and settles into life in the bunker with board games and conversation to build trust again. But when a strange and ominous rumbling above ground shakes the bunker and knocks the air filtering system out, as the smallest she has to crawl through the vent and fix it, where she discovers what looks like a previous attempt by a woman to escape the bunker...
After a very slow start the claustrophobia of the situation begins to suffocate the movies ideals and you start to yawn. But this is needed to set up the first twists, hints and clues and so develop the characters. What are the two guy’s motives in the bunker? Goodman’s overpowering frame delivers the appropriate psychology to keep the film credible as he looks like a weirdo and acts like one but you can never discount he is telling the truth because of his layered performance. Michelle increasing bravado in her situation generates the chemistry needed to work as a foil. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has that quality of spunky chick with brains on screen and very watchable.
I like the multi genre edge to it as we are led one way with the plot and a field of seeds is planted in our heads and those seeds are not the ones we think will germinate. But there is time for weeds to grow and our ideas to change as the first twist comes. There are at least three different movie genres at play here. I’m pretty sure JJ Abrahams insisted on the brilliant final twist that’s hinted on the dust cover and fair play to him for that. It’s very funny. In away it’s very much like an M Knight Shaylaman movie in its approach and intrigue and that outrageous twist at the end. That bit certainly saves the movie as the bunker stuff foes get boring at times.
For its sensible $15 million budget it did an impressive $103 million back for a first time director although the hard sell on the Cloverfield name may have helped interest. I suppose when you get a script like that you can help but succeed. Tratchtenberg said he loved the concept of being trapped inside and outside at the same time for an unknown period and the conflict and fear that created. We have had plenty of kids and teens trapped in bunkers and cellar films before but this one is different. Buried with Ryan Reynolds took it to the extreme, as did Room with Brie Larsson, and plenty of visceral pedophile features out there with this scenario, Austrian film Michael the most horrendous of all. But it works and although feeling like a stretched Twilight episode at times it just about gets away with it. But it needed more ‘smart’ in the middle for the fourth ciao star.
Imdb.com – 7.3/10.0 (180,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com –90 % critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 76% critic’s approval
The director and cast talk about their creative movie.
-Behind the Scenes-
The cast & crew recap the movie you have just seen? Why do thy do that! Give me something I don’t know please.
Movie Habit –‘Before it's done, 10 Cloverfield Lane takes an unexpected turn or two. So don't be fooled by a bit of rope-a-dope pacing; by the end, the movie delivers a strong punch’.
Financial Times –‘It works best whenever Goodman swaggers into frame, a slack-jawed psycho with a cuddly side’.
Independent – ‘In an era of bloated blockbusters, 10 Cloverfield Lane is refreshingly pared down -- a chamber piece rather than an epic’.
Guardian –‘After a particularly dull Oscar season, this is a refreshing and extremely satisfying palette cleanser’.
Movie Mail –‘10 Cloverfield Lane arrives as proof that, between the bloated junk and commercial no-brainers, the studio system can still surprise us.
NY Post –‘Maybe it's not an obvious sequel, but this film certainly has the same spirit as Cloverfield, keeping viewers guessing until the last shot.’
Film Ireland Magazine –‘The film is strong. More than strong enough to stand on its own. There was no need to try peg it to Cloverfield's brand. In the end, that's the one thing that weakens it’.