Can we call 10 Cloverfield Lane a sequel? Maybe not, but this next chapter in this hugely anticipated franchise from Producer JJ Abrams is nothing short of pure film genius and excellent cast performances which will see you perplexed into who and what we should believe.
Back in 2008 Cloverfield set a certain standard for the first person sc-fi-horror genre, one of which many films have failed to reach in such style. In 10 Cloverfield Lane, however, that handheld camera trickery has gone and so has the frantic fear fuelled chase across a city under siege by an Alien invasion. Instead, we are witness to a more underplayed setting of a survival bunker and only three characters in a tension-fuelled fight of truth and survival.
We enter the film with Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Wanstead) wanting to get away from her boyfriend and their issues, jumping into her car and heading for the hill when out of nowhere her car is hit and career’s off the road. She wakes up to find herself a prisoner in a bunker with her leg chained to the wall with nowhere to escape. Howard, played by an excellent John Goodman, saved Michelle from the wreck of her car and brought her back to the bunker to nurse her back to health. But with his short temper and obsessive sinister ways Michelle finds it difficult to believe his reasoning behind her imprisonment.
His reasoning; there has been an attack of some sort, the air is contaminated with poison and he wants to keep her there in order to save her life from the impending death she will endure if she steps outside. The third person in this self-made survival bunker, which is decked out with everything like a normal home, is the easy going Emmet (John Gallagher Jr). With his busted arm and gullible nature become good friends with the skeptical Michelle. It’s not until Michelle witnesses two dead pigs through the window of the bunker door outside, which look like their skin has been burned off that she starts to believe Howard’s story but as events unfold something is clearly not right with Goodman’s Howard.
First-time feature Director, Dan Trachtenberg has kept this simply, there are no big gimmicks for that shock and awe effect. Instead, he has relied heavily on building up the tension between the characters and the storyline as the script unravels. Each scene is tightly focused on its subject which only enhances this enthralling tale.
Goodman’s Howard stands out a mile; his big hulking frame does most of the talking in controlling his prisoners. He doesn’t at any point overplay his role which could have easily been overacted, instead, he keeps it subdued and this makes for an even more confusing yet sinister depiction of who this man really is.
The message we are left with is, is Howard telling the truth or is he a complete lunatic? That you will have to find out for yourself as you’ll find no spoilers here. It may have a slightly predictable ending but it’ll leave you wanting to see what there is no doubt will be delivered next in this gripping franchise.
10 Cloverfield Lane is out in UK Cinemas March 18.