Thursday, March 17, 2016

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE REVIEW - "I AM KEEPING YOU ALIVE" [SPOILERS]

This movie is one of the few movies I knew very little about before seeing. I typically visit Rotten Tomatoes before I throw down $30 for a movie, popcorn, and a drink, but I didn't have time this past weekend. Thankfully '10 Cloverfield Lane' didn't disappoint. As a sequel/prequel to the original 2008 'Cloverfield' film, one would expect '10 Cloverfield Lane' to "go big," but instead "it goes home." LITERALLY.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is leaving her boyfriend. She leaves him a note and her keys after a fight. Her boyfriend tries to call her to work things out to no avail. Michelle is not the type to stick around when things get tough. Her boyfriend (who we never see) is played by Bradley Cooper. Not sure why you needed a named actor in that role, but his voice was certainly recognizable.
CRAZY IS BUILDING YOUR ARK
AFTER THE FLOOD 
HAS ALREADY COME.
-Howard 

Michelle is in her car when she's mysteriously knocked off the road. She wakes up to find herself chained to a basement wall in a bunker. Now, I've never been in a major accident (thank goodness), but I would hope that when/if I wake up I wouldn't be chained to a wall. I don't think chaining an accident victim to a wall is par for the course in "Rescue 101." Anyone in this situation would automatically assume, which Michelle did--that she was kidnapped by a pervert. The potential pervert in this scenario is Howard, played brilliantly by John Goodman.
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR ARM?
WERE YOU TRYING TO ESCAPE?
-Michelle
I WAS TRYING TO GET IN.
-Emmett

As an audience member you never quite understand Howard's intentions. Is he a doomsday prepper gone too far? Is he a pervert? Is he just an eccentric weirdo with good intentions? Like Michelle, the audience doesn't know. We know that the film has 'Cloverfield' in the title...so we assume there are aliens around right? Well, not so fast. The vast majority of the film is set in the bunker. Michelle is accompanied by Emmett (John Gallagher). Emmett helped Howard build the doomsday bunker and fought his way in as Howard was closing the doors. Unlike Michelle, Howard reluctantly gave Emmett refuge.
SOMETHING
IS COMING.
-Howard

The film's premise is so well worn, it's almost an urban legend. An old man with apocalyptic tendencies holds a young woman in a bunker claiming that the end of the world has come. I've seen at least three or four television episodes based on this storyline. Sometimes it turns out that the world is just fine, but most of the time it turns out that the old man is right. I'm not sure what the urban legend is trying to convey to young girls, but whatever it is it's creepy.

Thankfully '10 Cloverfield Lane' turns the urban legend on its head. Instead of focusing on the female character's naivete as most of these storylines do, the writers focus on her ingenuity and her intelligence. Michelle isn't a babe in the woods. She's smart, capable, and a woman of action.
HOW DO YOU KNOW
THIS IS REAL?
-Michelle [to Emmett]

What I liked most about the film is that it unfolds as a psychological horror film, rather than a creature feature. The writers drench the characters in claustrophobia and paranoia. When we finally discover that there may be some truth to Howard's claims--that there has been some sort of attack--we also find out that Howard is still in fact a pervert. So yes, there was an attack, but that doesn't change the fact that our heroine is holed up in a bunker with a murderous rapist. Yeah...that's truly terrifying.
I FOCUS ON BEING PREPARED.
-Howard 

When Michelle and Emmett finally learn that the danger is inside as well as outside, they start planning to escape. You know it's really bad when a world crawling with aliens is better than living with a psychopath in a bunker. It pains me to see Goodman in this role, because he's such a lovely man in real life, but Goodman is crazy good as the villainous Howard.

Winstead and Gallagher are excellent as well. In a cast this small, there can be no dead weight. Each of these actors carries their water and then some. Ever since I saw her in the 2011 'The Thing' prequel, I haven't been a fan of Winstead, but '10 Cloverfield Lane' proves that Winstead knows what she's doing. It's not easy acting opposite someone as good as John Goodman, but she holds her own.
PERHAPS A PILGRIMAGE TO WACO?
-Emmett [discussing Howard's bucket list]

I can honestly say I have never quite seen a sequel like this one. I hope to see more good things from new director Dan Trachtenberg. In the hands of another director, the film could have been cheesy or over the top. Trachtenberg's direction is subdued. He let the script and the actors take us where we need to go. The tension of the film carries us to a thrilling conclusion. '10 Cloverfield Lane' was definitely worth the $$ and the popcorn. Go see it.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.

14 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more. I did note the reviews just to see how many fresh tomatoes it had, but my wife and I knew very little going in. Really well done and John Goodman was outstanding.

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    1. Oh he was exceptional wasn't he! I loved his performance. I'm glad you liked it too.

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  2. Great review! This looks really thrilling and i love Goodman and like Winstead a lot so I'll definitely see this one

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    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed it. I tried not to look at like a sequel. It really is it's own film. I think you're going to enjoy it.

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  3. I'm not usually a huge sequel fan and I definitely didn't like the last 20 minutes of the movie but DAMN was John Goodman good. Ugh, so amazing to watch him. I don't know if you saw Open Water 2 but it's similar as a sequel that challenges the genre.

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    1. You're so right. The last 20 minutes with the aliens are not nearly as good as the first 3/4ths of the film in the bunker. The first half o the film was bloody brilliant.

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  4. Gosh, do not like this premise at all. The thought of being in a bunker with a creep, really, really creeps me out. So I'm not sure I could sit through the tension, no matter how good the acting is. But love that John Goodman is getting kudos. I really like him as an actor.
    Great review, but I'll pass.

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    1. Ha ha. It was definitely creepy! Goodman was fantastic. If anything see it just for him. It's definitely a psychological thriller!

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  5. That's a gorgeous graphic you have for your review Mariah. I haven't seen this one but might give it a rent. That's cool when movies you knew very little of end up being a pleasant surprise. It's annoying when the opposite happens, such as Batman V Superman which I just finished reviewing, ugh.

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    1. Thanks Ruth! I work so hard on my graphics. I'm glad someone notices. I am super swamped right now with real life, but BvS is still on my list. I'm so disappointed with the reviews though. I'm debating whether or not I should skip it or go see it. I'll be reading your review soon.

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    2. Oh I always notice the design on people's blogs. I'm a web designer by trade but I barely have time to spend anytime designing my blog, but I love it when people make the effort. I think yours and Margaret's (Sati's) blogs are just gorgeous!

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    3. That is truly a compliment! Thank you. I love Margaret's blog. Her blog is brilliant.

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  6. Cool review, I was wondering about the new Cloverfield film. The last one had its good points, but the "shaky" cam drove me nuts:)

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  7. I have planned on seeing this movie ever since I first heard about it. Your review makes me want to see it even more now. I don't know when though...

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