10 Cloverfield Lane

Director: Dan Trachtenberg. Producer: J. J. Abrams.Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elisabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr. USA, 2016. IMDb: 7.2. My rating: 4/4. Exemplary sci-fi thriller.

– It’s the end of the world and he’s upset about a dead pig.cloverfield-lane
(one of the main characters)

“10 Cloverfield Lane” will beat you up, drag down the stairs and then suddenly act like an old friend who will tell you some good jokes and offer a few beers. Just to beat you up to death again 10 minutes later. And with all due respect to Dwayne Johnson, it’s John Goodman who should be called The Rock. Damn. It’s such a relief to finally see a great thriller, one of the most abused genres probably. And a good sci-fi thriller is even a more rare specimen.

The film feels way more powerful and will scare the hell out of you more than any of its big scale rivals, even though it’s mostly set in an apartment with just three characters. No cheap tricks or limb amputation. The thrill feels more like a Hitchcockian kind of suspense. You don’t know what’s happenning – just some clues, most of which will be wrong. You have no idea where the story will turn now – the amount of jaw dropping plot turns is incredible. Mary Elisabeth Winstead (still a very underrated actress) deserves very high appraisal too.

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Here is the premise. After a sudden car crash, Michelle (Mary Elisabeth Winstead) wakes up in a basement. Last thing she remembers was having an argument on the phone with her boyfriend while driving somewhere. Michelle is chained to a wall. An old man opens her door, insisting that he saved her, because. Enough. Stop.

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The less you know about “10 Cloverfield Lane”, the better. Watching the trailer would remove half of the pleasure. The movie came out from nowhere – everything was kept strongly in secret till 2 months before the release, because… J. J. Abrams, a man with one hundred personalities, conceived it as a ”spiritual” sequel to another movie. Guess what, it was made in 2008, also produced by J.J. Abrams and also had the word ”Cloverfield” in its name. But that was a found footage film that felt slightly different ant somehow bigger. As many noted, it could be an interesting approach to sequel making. Saying anything more than this would be a spoiler. So…  once again – the less you know about “10 Cloverfield Lane”, the better.

The story was originated as a completely different movie called ”The Cellar”, low budget thriller, but then Paramount stepped in and bought the script. It’s also worth noting here that “Metal Hurlant Chronicles” TV series also had a similar episode. So, Paramount later involved Damien Chazelle (yes, the guy who made brilliant ”Whiplash” and another… famous movie that probably everybody have heard of in 2016), who modified the script and was supposed to direct as well, but then dropped out when ”Whiplash” received funding. We are lucky, guys – now we have both ”Whiplash” and ”10 Cloverfield Lane”!

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“10 Cloverfield Lane” rests on several pillars. The first one is John Goodman. He gives an uneasy feeling of balancing on a thin line of madness. Sometimes he crosses it, sometimes he steps back. Have you ever met anyone who looks not completely sane but still not bad enough to be called mad? That is John Goodman. Kind of a “Barton Fink” role, but more grotesque. An evil can come with a very kind face and good intentions.

The second pillar is Mary Elisabeth Winstead. She started as a typical female actress in horror movies, but seems to be choosing the movies more carefully in last 5 years (probably you’ve seen her in a wonderful “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”). Her character is smart and anything but a stereotypical female thriller movie hero. Winstead bears well Ellen Ripley’s burden. The third pillar is His Majesty the Script. It’s detailed, full of hints – some of which are right, while most are fake, so you really never know where the movie will turn now. And if the story is already incredibly tense during the first hour, in last 20 minutes it is in a complete overdose.

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Worth viewing? Hell yes! If you don’t want to miss one of the most thrilling and original films of last years. Tense, smart and well-crafted with brilliantly horrifying Goodman and surprising Winstead. The script will keep you nervous all the time like a Russian roulette, but it’s the performance of the cast that makes “10 Cloverfield Lane” much more than a one trick pony. Exemplary science fiction thriller. And often unexpectedly funny. But don’t watch the trailer. I warmed you.

4/4

5 thoughts on “10 Cloverfield Lane

  1. […] Melissa George’s character is explored more as she is the central part of the story, but I am not sure she can act at all. At least, not in this movie. Mostly she did various thrillers/horrors, and it’s easy to see why – for 95% of the onscreen time, her acting consists of an opened mouth, widened eyes and raised eyebrows with an overall expression of a mystery on her face. Her character is completely inaccessible – not only to the viewers but to other film characters as well. The producers probably understood it well – she dresses short panties and a tight T-short showing her breast literally every 3 minutes. It’s just annoying and tasteless, showing for which auditory the movie was made (and no – I do not have anything against these kind of characters and highly enjoyed Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s acting in ”10 Cloverfield Lane”). […]

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