10 Cloverfield Lane Review
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In 2008, the heavily-hyped J. J. Abrams-produced found footage monster movie Cloverfield followed a group of young people as they raced through the crumbling streets of New York City. But Cloverfield’s sister film, 10 Cloverfield Lane, is a very different—much more intimate—kind of thriller.

10 Cloverfield Lane begins as Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) decides to leave her fiancé and drive off into the night. But before she reaches her destination, her car is run off the road, and she wakes to find herself locked in an underground bunker. The man who took her there, Howard (John Goodman), claims that he’s saved her life—that there was an attack, and everyone outside the bunker is dead. And the only other resident of the bunker, Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.), believes him. But Michelle doesn’t know what to believe.

Anyone who’s expecting the noise and terror and widespread panic of the original Cloverfield will be completely caught off guard by 10 Cloverfield Lane. For the most part, it’s a quiet, claustrophobic drama, with just three characters in a small, enclosed space. Really, it’s more like a suspenseful Sundance thriller than a big-name release.

The drama here is creepy and intense, with so many questions arising one after another. In the beginning, it may seem simple: Michelle’s been kidnapped, and she needs to figure out how to escape. But you’ll soon find that there’s nothing simple about this story—or about Goodman’s Howard. He may be crazy and dangerous. He may be a smart, eccentric guy who planned ahead and has chosen to save two other people from a horrible fate. Or maybe he’s all of the above. And Goodman plays the character so well—making him so strange and fanatical and unpredictable—that he’ll keep you guessing.

As the drama plays out, though, you’ll most likely find yourself waiting for something bigger to happen. After all, this is a Cloverfield movie—and there are constant references to some kind of horrors taking place outside the bunker. On one hand, that adds to the suspense—because you’ll be bracing for what’s sure to come. On the other hand, though, it’s also a distraction—and you may be so focused on what’s coming that you might lose sight of the suspense that’s playing out in the bunker. So in order to appreciate the film fully, you’ll need to let go of expectations. Just forget about what may or may not be coming, and let yourself enjoy the tension and suspense of this eerie underground drama.

10 Cloverfield Lane probably isn’t what you’re expecting—and its hype and choppy ending may actually detract from an otherwise solid psychological thriller. But if you can separate this film from its predecessor, you’ll be in for a tense and gripping adventure.

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