WARNING: Possible Spoilers Ahead
10 Cloverfield Lane hit theaters this weekend and it already has extremely positive reviews. As soon as the first batch of good reviews came in, I purchased two tickets and headed straight to the theatre. The whole stadium was packed with obvious fans of the original film. I just hope they know this will be a lot different from the first by the looks of the trailer.
The film opens up on a woman, Michelle, played by the amazing Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She is in a rush and gathering up a bunch of her belongings because she just broke off her engagement and is running away before he notices she is gone. Her plans go haywire when a truck crashes into her car, sending her off the road and knocking her unconscious. Michelle wakes up in an unknown location chained to a bed before a man brings her a tray of food. Panic sets in as she believes she has been kidnapped even after the man by the name of Howard, played by John Goodman, insists he has saved her rather than kidnapped her.
After calming down, Howard informs Michelle that there has been an attack and the air outside is toxic and would instantly kill anyone who steps outside. Howard and Michelle are not alone as a man by the name of Emmett is down in the bunker with them. Emmett is one of Howard's neighbors but Michelle has no knowledge of who either of them are. The build-up to the bunker and Michelle calming down is very slow-paced but once it gets going, the intensity of the film picks up as well.
The rest of the film flows with Michelle and Emmett not trusting Howard with how strict he is towards them. The majority of the film up until the last fifteen minutes takes place in the bunker with only these three characters. Even with the lack of setting and characters, the suspense sticks with you throughout the entire film and you never know what will happen next. Through many of Michelle's escape attempts, you begin to wonder who exactly Howard is and what exactly is happening outside.
There are three characters in the film. Our main character is Michelle. She is a twenty-something woman involved in a relationship that she seems desperate to get out. She seems so desperate that she leaves her apartment in a hurry to get away. Michelle surprised me the most out of the three. She is a natural survivor and knows how to be handy with whatever is around her. Anything that is near her can be a weapon. Being locked in a bunker does not stop her from constantly thinking about her next move of finding out what is outside. The next main character is Howard. He designed and built the bunker that holds our three characters. He is very strict with his rules of the bunker and never hesitates to punish Michelle and Emmett when they step out of line. He is the most unusual character. You never clearly understand him and why he is what he is. Throughout the entire film, you wonder if he is a villain, hero, or just misunderstood. Finally, we have Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr. Emmett is a laid-back guy who does not care there is an apocalypse. He has a very chill personality and never seems to care about anything weird. He befriends Michelle and they end up forming a bond, much to Howard's hatred.
I enjoyed the performances of each of the actors and they definitely fit the roles they were placed in. Michelle is possibly one of my favorite horror movie heroines in a while. She becomes badass when she needs to and does not fit the damsel in distress category. Michelle is a true final girl like she should be. I never underestimated John Goodman's acting. He is very believable as the scary guy who holds Michelle and Emmett hostage in the bunker. He may say he is helping save them from what is outside but his intentions are hard to believe. Emmett is a very likable character and the friendship between him and Michelle is very entertaining from beginning to end.
The Tense Scenes
The tension is high when it needs to be. It is hard to believe that this is Dan Trachtenberg's first big directorial project. He makes it seem so easy to direct a film like this. When Michelle and Emmett plan their escape from the bunker, the tension rises to its peak as the characters turn on each other until one finally escapes the bunker to the outside world. When the surviving character makes it outside, I was on the edge of my seat. The last fifteen minutes of the film are so worth it. It makes you know that even though it is completely different, it is indeed a relative to Cloverfield. I loved the ending of the film and it sets up a sequel brilliantly. Although I wish the last fifteen minutes were the entire film, I did enjoy the build-up to it. This film shows that you do not need huge monsters, zombies, or non-stop action to show how people survive.
All in all, I tried to give a completely spoiler-free review. As long as you do not go into the film expecting monsters in every scene, you will be pleasantly surprised. It is a clever thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the conclusion. Even though I would love another big monster Cloverfield flick, this satisfied me and I would love to watch it again. Go watch it yourself and never judge a film by its title or trailer. I didn't and was thoroughly entertained. I give 10 Cloverfield Lane an 8 out of 10.