Recently, The Random Chat show did a podcast on Cloverfield. It was pretty much well-timed with the release of the 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer. The trailers were obscure to say the least. We get the idea of a girl in an accident, saved by a man that claims the world is toxic outside and the bunker he stashes them in is the only place that they can survive. Right away, John Goodman is plays the man and its hard to not love anything he does. Part of it has to be that he brings me some pretty nostalgic feelings about watching Roseanne with my dad when I was young. But then, he’s been doing supporting roles in various movies, the one I remember the most has to be Argo and to me, he’s a competent actor, so this movie looks intriguing to say the least.
Let’s check out 10 Cloverfield Lane!
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.-IMDB
10 Cloverfield Lane was a whole level of unexpected to me. 2016 so far has been full of surprises. 10 Cloverfield Lane kind of crept up on my radar in the last month or so. Its hard to know what to expect when the trailers are obscure. Its also refreshing to go into a movie with only the basics. For the most part, the movie focuses highly on the level of mystery, making sure to use that to thrill the audience, keep them guessing. I love movies like that. On top of that, 10 Cloverfield Lane is not overly long and keeps things well paced.
One of the best experiences of 10 Cloverfield Lane is truly in who you want to believe. Howard (played by John Goodman) is controlling and off-putting. Is he good? Is he crazy? Is his theory about chemical attack and contamination believable? Should Michelle (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) try to escape? Is that a better chance? Those questions really just scratch the surface of the myriad of question marks that float and accumulate throughout the movie. Howard is a great character. There’s never a clear line where he lies and what are his secrets and he definitely has secrets. In many ways, the fear is embedded in the interactions with him from his lack of reaction to his full-on reactions. Who is this person? At the core, isn’t it the most psychologically fearful aspect when you can’t figure out who someone is even when your living space is restricted to the same area as they are. This is 10 Cloverfield Lane and that is the fear of it. It doesn’t even matter if outside is dangerous or contaminated or whether its survivable. That’s just an additional factor to why the decision to stay down there makes more sense.
No matter how good John Goodman is, the other two characters are really well-balanced to make it all work out. Michelle is a strong girl. We get a good idea of who she is by the pieces she drops in conversation. The same goes for Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr. Both of these characters feel real and relatable. Emmett is the balance of humor that breaks up the tension that John Goodman’s Howard creates many times. His randomness comes off as goofy at times and it helps the environment a lot, especially because Michelle is mostly a tense character that regardless of the chemistry and normalcy that builds throughout the story, she still has a tad of suspicion. She’s strong and smart. With a movie in confined/single settings, the good ones portray well the character development and 10 Cloverfield Lane definitely excelled in this aspect.
The last question to ask here is whether 10 Cloverfield Lane is a sequel? In reality, its hard to say. As empty as the trailer is, there are some snippets and other footage and does suggest that it is related to the Cloverfield events in one way or another. However, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a much different movie. Many times, you will forget about its connection because not until the final act will you get the answer. However, I will refrain from talking about the ending because its for you to discover. Lets just say that it takes a turn in a very different pacing and tone from the other 80% of the movie before it. While there were some tidbits that I wasn’t a fan of, it worked well enough. If anything, maybe we’ll see Michelle in the next installment if it happens.
Overall, 10 Cloverfield is a good movie. The best part is its building of tension and characters. The cast did a great job and the story was well-paced. The finale is a no-talk zone for the moment to keep this review spoiler-free, however, any points lost for this might be on the little bits that I wasn’t sure about. I do wonder how they’d approach it if they were to make another sequel. It would probably creep up under the radar exactly like this one did. 😉
Have you seen 10 Cloverfield Lane? Did you like it? If you haven’t, do you plan on seeing it?