10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
The news of producer J.J. Abrams’ secret project, a sequel to his popular found footage horror flick “Cloverfield,” was dropped on us like an atomic bomb just a few months ago. Since then, the hype that would normally surround such a project hasn’t had time to build to its fullest level. But it should. “10 Cloverfield Lane” is an unequivocal success. Like “Cloverfield,” it’s definitely a monster movie…but not all of these monsters are extraterrestrial.
When Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) flips her car off the road and is knocked unconscious, she wakes up in the fallout shelter of former Navy man Howard (John Goodman), who says he found her car and brought her in to safety. They share the bunker with just one other person, Emmitt (John Gallagher Jr.), who helped Howard build it. Howard tells them that there has been a nearby attack of a nuclear or chemical nature and that the air outside isn’t safe to breathe. They’ll have to stay inside. But the truth might not be so clear.
Such a small cast and intimate setting require careful attention to acting and production design. Both are excellent. Much of the film is lifted on the shoulders of Winstead, who effortlessly bares the load. Her impressive acting chops are on full display. The always-solid John Goodman is better than ever. And Gallagher brings some real heart to his wayward character. Plus, the careful attention paid to this claustrophobic setting makes the shelter a character in its own right.
From a team of writers, including Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”), “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a tense and chilling monster movie. You’ll jump, you’ll shriek, you’ll squeeze your chair cushion in riveting, gut-wrenching anxiety. You owe yourself to give “10 Cloverfield Lane” a visit.