Sunday, March 27, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! 10 Cloverfield Lane is always getting mail from the House at the End of the Street.

10 Cloverfield Lane – 4 out of 5

Okay, so technically 10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t a sequel to Cloverfield (a film I really do enjoy—I know, a “found footage” film that the good old Reverend digs.  Strange, I know.).  J. J. Abrams described it as a “blood relative” or “spiritual sequel” or “kissing cousins” sequel to his first film but, what really amazes me, is the fact that this “blood relative” sequel was produced, filmed and released without any leaks or spoilers getting out.  Sure, it was a smaller production and that helps but, still, that kind of spit is impressive.  Anyway, when I saw the trailer, I was excited to see this and actually ponied up the dough to see it in the theaters.  So, let’s get this review going!

                                                                                                                  Paramount Pictures
"Hey, what are you doing in there?  Can I come in?  I'm lonely."

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is upset and leaves her boyfriend (who you only hear in the form of a phone call and is played by Bradley Cooper—which is pretty cool).  While fleeing in her car, she gets into an accident and awakes to find herself in a mysterious bunker owned by a strange, kinda creepy man named Howard (John “I Make Every Movie I’m In 90% Better” Goodman).  Howard tells her that she has to stay in the bunker because an attack took place that has left the world outside toxic and she’ll die if she flees.  Also inside with them is a young man named Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) who tells her that, unlike her, he willingly came to the bunker.  Michelle is dubious and is distrustful of the man keeping her but, eventually, warms up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for her to realize that her initial moments of distrust might have been correct and that something even more dangerous than what is outside is residing inside with her.

                                                                                                                   Paramount Pictures
"Inside this barrel is my special chili recipe...don't let it get on your skin."

The story of 10 Cloverfield Lane is very enthralling and the mystery of what’s outside and whether or not Howard is a threat definitely kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  Another element that really made this feature very strong was the fact that director Dan Trachtenberg (making his feature length directing debut with this film) really gave the viewer a sense of claustrophobia with some tight camera angles but also knew how to use the visuals to create perfect emotional atmospheres—whether he needed some whimsical, amusing moments of the trio having fun as they try to live as normal lives as they can in the bunker or truly horrifying moments where you fear for Michelle’s safety.  Finally, the mystery of Howard, what’s going on outside and what’s happened in the bunker before Michelle arrived is perfectly revealed with hints given at a great pace.  It kept me wondering and engaged and, even better, the definitive answers aren’t revealed and you are left to fill in any blanks with your own desired results using the cues and hints left in the story.

                                                                                                                    Paramount Pictures
While Howard was distracted, Michelle quickly scrapped the veggies from
her plate onto his.

Without a doubt, the best thing about this movie is the cast.  You already have John Goodman giving a very predictably amazing performance—there’s one constant in the universe and that is John Goodman is f@#king fantastic in each and every role he plays.  It was a little hard on my soul to see Goodman playing the antagonist because I like the guy so much. He was so unnerving but, at the same time, hauntingly sympathetic as Howard.  Additionally, Winstead (another actor who is no stranger to great performances) is awesome as Michelle and does a terrific job of being the focal point for the audience and it was stupidly easy to invest in her character and to cheer her on to survival.  Finally, John Gallagher Jr. as Emmett is more of a comic relief character but, within that, he helps provide a lot of answers to the mysteries in the story (and creates some more doubt, as well) and he really rides that line of being serious and fun at the same time and does it fantastically.  The cast is small in this one but they are all doing their jobs excellently.

                                                                                                                    Paramount Pictures
There's a lot of scenes of people looking at possible sources of sound in this film.

                                                                                     Paramount Pictures
Look at them, not socializing and just staring into their
phones and--oh.  They don't have phones.  Look,
humans just don't like to socialize and we find
any reason we can to in order to get out of it.
Even alien invasion.

The only complaints I had about the film is the fact that replay value for it is a bit on the low end because it feels like it would be almost impossible to once again achieve the same level of investment that was delivered during initial viewing.  Also, there are times in the film that the story dragged.  These moments are very, very few and far between but there was a moment or two where I found myself just wanting to get more answers or found my excitement of seeing what is going on outside the bunker to be overwhelming.  Finally, the ending definitely has its cool moments and really helps solidify how Michelle goes from a heartbroken girl to a badass who will do whatever she can to protect herself but it did bring in some moments that I found kinda cheesy and some that weren’t very satisfying.  Granted, the build-up is so immense in the story that it, realistically, would have been very difficult to have an ending that is just as satisfying as the mystery and I really did dig the ending but the very finally moments were just sorta “meh” for me.

                                                                                                                   Paramount Pictures
All the horror of Game Night with your family!

Despite my very minor complaints, I really, really enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane.  With the great performances from an amazing cast and its story that contained some great nervous and frightening energy, it was very easy to become investing in what was happening.  Finally, I was very impressed with the work of director Dan Trachtenberg and I really hope this film becomes a launching point for his career and we see more great things from him.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.