10 Cloverfield Lane – 8/10

Crazy is building the ark after the flood has already come..


Cloverfield is not a film I really loved first time round but I was a vocal critic of found footage back in 2008 and also just an all round miserable bastard. After being on the edge of my seat for most of 10 Cloverfield Lane, maybe I need to revisit the original.

10 Cloverfield Lane finds Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) confined in an underground bunker with Howard (John Goodman). If the thought of being trapped underground with only the wonderful smells of John Goodman as company isn’t frightening enough, there is also some seriously weird shit going on outside the bunker.

Unique and compelling, 10 Cloverfield Lane is one of the most original horror films I have seen in years. The decision to have the film be a ‘blood relative’ to Cloverfield (according to producer JJ Abrams) rather than a straight up sequel gives director Dan Trachtenberg more room to breathe, eventually allowing him to almost make two movies under one roof. The first time director does well to ensure this approach never feels forced and both parts of the movie are gripping, tense and entertaining.

A strong cast is always something to cherish in horror movies and all three main parties do a good job here. Gallagher Jr. is perhaps a little flat compared to some of his other roles but he can only go with what’s on the page. Goodman and Winstead are both good value though, particularly in scenes they share together.

One criticism is the constant resourcefulness of the main characters. Obviously there is an element of suspension of disbelief when watching a film in the Cloverfield universe but even accounting for that, some scenes succeeded only in making me feel removed from the plot. It is difficult to remain quite as gripped when the main characters are making their own biohazard suit from scratch with a bit of double sided tape and sticky back plastic.

Other than that minor gripe 10 Cloverfield Lane has to be considered a daring success. One of the most refreshing horror films I have seen in ages. Great work all round.

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