10 Cloverfield Lane

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.

 

Director: Dan Trachtenberg

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr., Bradley Cooper, Douglas M. Griffin

Rated: PG-13 (thematic material including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language)

10 Cloverfield Lane

By Matt Greene

10 Cloverfield Lane is the most unique film sequel / follow-up I’ve ever seen. First of all, it’s nothing like its predecessor, 2008’s super-fun Godzilla-esque Cloverfield. Boldly choosing to abandon the found-footage that made the original a unique smash, Lane instead leans on monster-sized amounts of claustrophobic terror and intrigue. Much of that stems from the marketing, which in true Abrams form is as opaque as a cloud of kaiju-created debris. How often do we really get a theater experience this shrouded in the unknown? When the enigmatic movie finally unspools, it projects an exceptionally scary good time.

Set in a survival bunker below the ground, we are stuck with three characters as they each try and figure out what is and isn’t true about their unnerving situation. The mystery is as thick as the doors keeping our characters in, and director Trachtenberg never shows his hand until need be. Masterfully going between surprising moments of humor and sit-up-in-your-chair darkness, it’s hard to believe this is his first feature. On top of that, he gets some truly unforgettable performances from the strong Winstead and eccentric Goodman.

Given the behind-the-scenes dudes who were part of the creation of this film (Abrams, Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves, “Daredevils” Drew Goddard, Whiplash’s Damien Chazelle), I was sort of in the bag for this movie. However, a more famous filmmaker looms above them all here, even while having no actual hand in it, as this may be the best Spielbergian movie since Jurassic Park, capturing his sense of awe and terror with aplomb. 10 Cloverfield Lane is admirably daring, crazy suspenseful, and deftly crafted horror-scifi.

4 out of 5 Stars

 

10 Cloverfield Lane

By Cole Schneider

You’re better off going to see “10 Cloverfield Lane” without knowing anything more than it’s a movie worth seeing. If you’re starved for more intel, know that this ‘spiritual sequel’ to 2008’s “Cloverfield” has essentially nothing in common with that film, and really would have been better off existing on its own terms. Still, they do share some common ground even if they may not share anything of tangible consequence. “Cloverfield” was a 9/11 allegory dressed up as a monster movie dressed up as a first-person hangout with New York’s hipsters. “10” is a fear/terrorism commentary cloaked in a thriller genre cloaked in a three-person chamber piece.

“10” begins with our protagonist, Michelle packing a suitcase and driving away from home leaving behind her ring. This beautifully rendered opening is interrupted by a brutal car crash. Michelle wakes up in what is essentially a prison cell in an underground bunker. Here she meets the bunker’s owner Howard (John Goodman in top form). Is Howard holding her captive? Is he saving her life? He explains that the outside air has been contaminated and everyone else is likely dead. He claims a big attack, though he’s unsure of the details. Chemical? Nuclear? Russia? Iran?

Who and what don’t matter. Reasons to believe Howard come to the surface throughout, as do reasons against. The psychology between the two and a third roommate, Emmett, is as fascinating as the psychology of the scenario and the final revelation is as eloquent as it is odd in its take on narrowing our fears in the age of terrorism.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

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