10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

A Monstrous Time

Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher, Jr.

Whatever you think of his writing and directing, J.J Abrams' marketing work is some of the best recently seen in Hollywood. A continuation of the 2008 hit Cloverfield has been rumoured for years, with nothing coming to fruition, until the trailer was shown before the latest Michael Bay picture. In a time where plot details are periodically leaked before a films release, it's a welcome change how the cards were kept so close to the chest, audiences only discovered this films existence 2 months prior to its release.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) leaves New Orleans after an argument with her fiancée, only to get in a car accident. Upon awaking, she finds herself in an underground bunker belonging to Howard (John Goodman), with fellow survivor Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr) residing inside also. Howard claims the outside world has suffered from an unknown attack, but is this true, or is it just his paranoia taking over?

First time director Dan Trachtenberg takes the reins, discarding many of the notable aspects from Matt Reeves' 2008 film. Gone is the handheld camera, the escape through a crumbling city and the monster sightings, as the camera stays steady, and the setting is confined to the bunker. The tension is built extremely well, advantageously using the confined setting to deliver a claustrophobic feel. But it's not just that aspect which will leave you on edge, as the tale unfolds before viewers, wondering not only if the danger outside is true, but if it's the safer option to being trapped with Howard.

At the centre of this film lies Michelle, an assertive heroine ready to use her surroundings to her advantage. Mary Elizabeth Winstead takes us on an emotional rollercoaster, leaving us with a lead you'll be ready to follow to hell and back. John Gallagher, Jr provides warmth to the trio, but it'll be John Goodman who audiences will end up chatting about. The reliable actor delivers a welcoming presence that makes it believable he just wants to help these people, but can easily turn unsettling and veer off into a startling rage, be it simmering or explosive. For an actor with such a wide array of roles under his belt, it's telling how it's easily one of the best performances of his career.

More than just a praise worthy marketing tactic, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a promising debut from Dan Trachtenberg. The blood relative of Cloverfield is A tense affair powered by a strong trio, ready to remind you that man may be more frightening than whatever horrors J.J Abrams and co can conjure.


Zach Murphy said…
Agreed on how excellent John Goodman is in this.

- Zach
James Rodrigues said…
Easily a highlight of the picture.