10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

12:57 PM

Monsters Come in Many Forms
This review contains Spoilers 
 10 Cloverfield Lane is the feature length directorial debut from Dan Trachtenberg and is a spiritual sequel to the 2008 film 'Cloverfield'. The film stars John Goodman (Monster Inc, Argo), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing, Final Destination 3) and John Gallagher Jr. (Short Term 12, Jonah Hex). "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". The first Cloverfield has come some what of a cult classic, can 10 Cloverfield Lane be just as memorable and effective? 


Before I get into this review, my trip to see 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn't an ordinary trip for me - I went to see it alone! This was the first time I've been to the cinema and seen a film alone and it was a very interesting experience. The film was pretty scary so being alone kind of made the film extra scary. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a very good film - almost incredible. It is so effective and I am still amazed that this film was able to go unnoticed until 2 months ago. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a film you should definitely go and see as it is one of the strongest 2016 has provided to date.

The opening act for this film was outstanding - one of the best opening acts I have ever watched. The sequence had no dialogue and was quite subtle until the car crash occurred - that probably provides the biggest scare of the film - it is so unexpected. I love how the sequence flashes between the car crash and the opening credits for this film - this was very well done and something I hadn't seen done before. This is why I watch films - to see scenes carried out perfectly like this and this opening scene really did set the stage for what was to come. Excellent. 

There is so much to talk about with 10 Cloverfield Lane. I suppose I should mention that I recently watched the first Cloverfield for the first time in preparation and thought it was nothing special. 10 Cloverfield Lane definitely is special. The story for the film is so small and has such a small-scope - you are able to get to know all 3 characters. 10 Cloverfield Lane is very confined as you never see outside - you just believe what the characters have to believe. I'm usually not a fan of slow paced films but this was done incredibly well and had moments throughout that sparked a faster pace. I was on the edge of my seat the whole of 10 Cloverfield Lane - you don't know who or what to believe. The film has similarities to Room with how confined it is - both films cover a similar subject matter in very different ways - both manage to do it successfully though. The character development is also exceptional - this is down to a really clever script which gives you details about characters without you really noticing. 

10 Cloverfield Lane is also really well acted. This is an important factor that the film needed to get right as it only had 3 cast members. I've heard awards buzz already about John Goodman's performance - his character is probably the most interesting out of the 3 as you really don't know whether to trust him. His character is very creepy. 10 Cloverfield Lane may not revolve around supernatural monsters like the first film but it does revolve around a human that is a monster. Goodman's character is so creepy and as soon as he shaves, the film becomes extremely discomforting. Goodman carries this all out fantastically and I honestly believe if hype remains high, he is in the running for some awards love. I'd never really heard of Mary Elizabeth Winstead until this film but she was absolutely fantastic in this. She was the heroine of the film and really made sure the audience were backing her. John Gallagher Jr also has a really strong performance which surprised me as I thought he was going to be a 3rd unnecessary character. 10 Cloverfield Lane is acted very well by 3 leads who all have their own unique qualities and exceptional chemistry. 

10 Cloverfield Lane was much scarier than I thought it would be - jump scares were used extremely effectively - there wasn't too many of them but when they were used, they caught you by surprise. The film was also very tense - the scene where she is crawling through the vents with Goodman stabbing knifes into it - this had me on edge. Also, at the end of the film where she is in the shed and is looking through the gaps - I was preparing for something to pop out. The music was also very effectively used - the same song from the trailer was used here and was just as effective. 

So from what you've read, 10 Cloverfield Lane seems like the perfect film? I do have my problems with it - most of them lie with the character of Michelle and the final 15 minutes. Michelle's character is very clever and intelligent but she seems to have it a little too easy. Everything she needs is always conveniently lying around. This became very clear at the end of the film when Michelle and the car are being raised by the alien and all the equipment she needs is conveniently in the car for her. I'm also not a huge fan of the sci-fi twist ending. It was nice to see aliens make an appearance as that is sort of a loose tie to Cloverfield but I just thought they weren't needed - the film didn't really have a supernatural feel to it so I thought this sci-fi element came across as quite random. I've read what the original ending was supposed to be online before this became a Cloverfield sequel and I do prefer that ending. I would have liked Michelle to escape the shelter and then realise the world was just carrying on normally and the helicopters she was hearing were search helicopters - this would have really emphasised how much of a twisted monster Goodman's character is. However, this wasn't the case - the final 15 minutes did provide a large amount of the scares and I'm not angry with it, I'm just disappointed that a very sophisticated and clever film didn't choose the clever twist. 

Second Viewing Additions
The second time around, I found different parts more effective - this time I preferred the second half of the film which just shows that there is so much to love here. I'm still not too keen on the sci-fi twist but I can actually see how some things aren't too convenient and that they were hinted at earlier on in the film. I think the film also has some good technical aspects - when Michelle and Emmett are having their heart-to-heart conversation - the lighting has a pink shade for Michelle and a blue shade for Emmett - I thought this was a nice touch as it also reflected their genders. I also liked Michelle as a heroine much more the second time around. 

10 Cloverfield Lane is a very good film - considering nobody knew about it 2 months ago, it is remarkable that a studio was able to keep such a quality film under wraps. At heart, it is an indie film that has been wrapped up for a mainstream audience. The acting is superb and the plot is very confined and effective. The scares are always on point and the film really does showcase how twisted humans can be. Even though the final 15 minutes and Michelle's convenience do bring my feelings towards the film down, 10 Cloverfield Lane is still a strong film that is just short of being incredible. The opening sequence is something I will remember for a long time. 10 Cloverfield Lane may be a spiritual sequel but it is certainly better than the first film. I urge you to visit 10 Cloverfield Lane - you won't be disappointed. 

4 STARS
A-

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