Movie/TV Reviews

Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane

Score: 8/10

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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot Productions

10 Cloverfield Lane is a great film that boasts a wonderful script and a magnificent cast of actors.

The story follows Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as she finds herself in a bomb shelter after she has a car accident. The man who owns the shelter is Howard (John Goodman). Also along for the ride is John Ghalager Jr’s character, Emmett.  I can’t really spoil anything more because that would give away too much information (Blugger isn’t that mean).

The Dan Trachtenberg directed film is also the director’s debut into mainstream Hollywood and my god he’s fantastic. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a name we would start hearing more often in the near future.  Since the whole movie pretty much takes place in one house, you’d expect the scenes to become boring as the movie progresses in length, but Trachtenberg works with the low budget such that every scene feels different – now that takes work.  I’m also really surprised by how good this director is at directing since his prior work only included a short film for the video game “Portal,” which is an amazing 7 minute film.

An interesting aspect of this movie’s production was it’s mystery box marketing.  The first trailer was released on January 11 of this year, which is literally two months before the film’s release.  Usually, a film’s trailer will come out 6-9 months before the release, which gives plenty of time for post-production and marketing.  Since the trailer was released so recently, one would expect 10 Cloverfield Lane to flop at the box office, but this movie actually did really well for a low budget project.  Part of that success probably has to do with the Cloverfield name.  Monster movie fans have been waiting in anticipation for a Cloverfield sequel announcement (since the 2007 movie hinted at one) for years, but all that existed were rumors.  Then, out of nowhere, this trailer secretly came along (it was attached to Michael Bay’s 13 Hours) and people payed attention until the end… when the Cloverfield name showed in blue letters across the screen.  No one knew what the movie was about, but everyone knew it had to do with Cloverfield.  That was definitely a seller.

Another interesting production aspect was the script’s rewrites.  Prior to this movie’s announcement, the spec script was titled, “The Cellar” (it was actually on the 2012 Hit List of screenplays).  It was bought by Bad Robot and it got turned into a movie!  Soon, it was worked into a Cloverfield spinoff and now we have this movie.

Let’s talk about acting: John Goodman kills it as Howard.  He’s just so creepy and controlling that he elevates this movie beyond the typical thriller.  Up until the third act of the movie, I was questioning his motives and that has 100% to do with John Goodman’s facial expressions and the Trachtenberg’s visual storytelling.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Ghallager Jr. are also fantastic, but John Goodman is the clear standout.

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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot Productions

My main problem with this movie was the ending.  I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s basically there to connect with the 2007 Cloverfield.  I guess it works, but it’s just not as good as the rest of the movie.  The movie doesn’t really have much to do with the original movie and I really dug the story until the last moments of the third act.  However, I have this crazy theory regarding the movie (a topic for another day) and if that ends up as true, this movie will blow people’s minds.

It’s honestly a good thing for the film industry that the movie was able to do what it did.  It’s a sequel/spinoff that was an original movie in a world where sequels and spinoffs rule the box office, but fail with audiences.  Also, it was kept in the dark and utilized mystery box marketing, which made the whole viewing experience much better.  Nowadays, a lot of movie trailers are revealing a little too much (Batman v Superman anyone?) and I think that the producers who think that’s a good selling point should see what producer J.J. Abrams does with his movies (this one especially).

So what did you think about 10 Cloverfield Lane?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!  Thanks!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @MohitPuvvala!

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Categories: Movie/TV Reviews

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