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"10 Cloverfield Lane" decides to focus on a much smaller scale than it's larger than life cousin; delivering a highly effective tale of claustrophobic tension.

Written by Jonathan Gill

Given the film's secretive marketing, no one could pinpoint what insanity was going on in the "10 Cloverfield Lane" trailer. Back in 2008, audiences were treated with the same kind of clever marketing from the J.J. Abrams produced disaster flick: "Cloverfield", which turned out to be a kaiju-inspired monster movie. And even though this indirect-sequel lacks the grand spectacle of an enraged monster obliterating Manhattan, it packs even more suspense and thrills than the original.

This is due in part to the excellent direction, from first time director: Dan Trachtenburg. He paces the film very well, using great camera work to capture the intrigue and emotion displayed in a setting that's 90% in one location. This kept me engaged and invested in all the characters, including its antagonist. The film revolves around a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who awakes to find herself in an underground bunker after a car accident. Her only knowledge is that a "Doomsday Prepper" (John Goodman) , rescued her from a mass attack of some sort... but all is not as it seems. Trachtenburg's direction is aided by these excellent performances, especially that of the unsettling John Goodman, who steals the show every time he's one screen. Mary Elizabeth Winstead also glows in her role of a clever heroine who has no trouble fending for herself.

The film's script, although small in scale, is effective in building tension among the bunker's occupants. Conversations and interactions between characters often take unexpected turns, revealing new traits and even darker secrets. It is this shroud of mystery that's 10 Clovefield Lane's greatest strength, and is only lifted temporarily in the film's final act. This change of pace is extremely abrupt and may turn off some viewers. However, I enjoyed the change and thought it added a strong level of shock value.

10 Cloverfield Lane maybe one of 2016's biggest surprises, offering a fresh take on the suspense thriller. It has excellent performances, a sharp script and a crisp direction. 10 Cloverfield Lane gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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