BY AUSTIN VAN PAY | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST
In 2008, “Cloverfield” came out of nowhere with its innovative marketing techniques that made audiences marvel and wonder at the film. The secrecy surprised so many people and got so many people talking. “Cloverfield” reinvented marketing and the monster genre overall.
Now in 2016, out of nowhere comes “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Yet again, this film had a fantastic and innovative marketing campaign that excited and made “Cloverfield” fans eager to see how the film would unfold. It’s important to note though that fans of “Cloverfield” would be mistaken to go into this film believing that it’s a sequel to the 2008 film. This film stands on its own and may disappoint fans who were expecting a true sequel. As J.J. Abrams stated, it is a “blood relative” to “Cloverfield” and it fits perfectly into that universe’s style.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” begins with a shocking and violent car accident that sends our protagonist Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) crashing into a ditch in the middle of nowhere. Waking up dazed and confused, she finds herself in a dimly lit bunker with an IV in her arm and her leg chained to a pipe. As the story unfolds, we meet the two other characters, the menacing and seemingly unstable Howard (John Goodman) and jokester, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) who soon tell Michelle the terrifying truth, as Howard says, “everyone outside of here is dead.” But is this the truth? Is Howard really insane? Michelle questions everything she’s being told from the Howard and Emmett, and determines she must find a way to escape in order to find out the truth.
Dan Trachtenberg as a first time director knocks it out of the park and delivers a confined, claustrophobic and tense thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat the entire ride. With the underground bunker setting, it seems to be limited in switching things up and keeping them interesting, but Mr. Trachtenberg and the excellent cast were perfectly able to keep the setting fresh and the tension coming. The film focuses on being scary on a human level and works to develop these characters stuck within a confined space in a mysterious situation. The film constantly toys with you and seems to always keep you questioning what you believe is truly happening 40 feet above them on the surface.
John Goodman gives a menacing and terrifying performance as Howard and is one of the best parts of this film. His character is very unnerving due to the fact that you can never quite figure out what is exactly going on within this man’s head. He brings a unique and terrifying demeanor that sticks with you and also with the central protagonist Michelle. Her character is also extremely well done and is always kept on edge by Howard. She was very smartly written and seemed to always be one step ahead. On the other hand, the character of Emmett seemed to be less developed than the others, but was still well done and likeable.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” is a fantastic and intense twist on the confined thriller genre. This film went in the opposite direction that many sequels or reboots typically do and instead went much smaller which played in its favor. There are many fantastic and shocking surprises in the film which I am not able to discuss here. You’ll just have to go to the film to discover what is truly going on at “10 Cloverfield Lane.”