When Cloverfield was released in 2008 it appeared to be just another monster movie done with headache-inducing shaky-cam; in other words it should have been forgotten before the first weekend of its premiere. But thanks to creative filmmaking by then first time director Matt Reeves and J.J. Abrams at his side this turned into some thing… more. As talented as these gentlemen are I truly believe most of the success of Cloverfield comes from its marketing team who until recently (Deadpool) had in my opinion the best marketing for a film I had ever witnessed. There were backstories to every character, backstories for the monster itself, and enough hidden material scattered throughout the internet to make every obsessed fan drool and squeal out of pure euphoria.
To this day there are entire podcasts devoted to the world of Cloverfield where every frame is dissected and every line spouted from a character’s mouth is analyzed for hidden meanings. As creative as this all was/is from the actual film itself to the marketing behind it, this is at the end of the day, a monster movie.
Now in 2016 we are, without warning, given 10 Cloverfield Lane and just as the first began its unveiling, no one knew what to make of it. Is it a sequel? Yes and no. Is it in the same world as Cloverfield? Yes and no. This is a beast of a different color, size, smell, and feel. More than the films themselves I am absolutely fascinated with the distinctly different styles these two films incorporate using the same world for reference. I cannot in any way say that you will like this film if you enjoyed the first. The comparisons simply aren’t there to find.
The “monsters” in these movies are different in every way imaginable. So much so that more than it being about monsters in the sense of scary, nightmare fuel replete with razor sharp teeth and a roar that could wake the dead, the term monster is more about the interpretation. There are monsters the size of skyscrapers in this world but there are also monsters of a more familiar variety, us. So the tagline, “Monsters come in many forms” is fitting for more reasons than I am willing to convey in this review. I’m not willfully being an ass, I just want you to experience the same mindfuck that I went on when I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Cloverfield is a monster movie in the traditional sense (with added shaky-cam) and 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thriller of Hitchcockian descent with elements of traditional monster movie thrown in for good measure. This movie aims to entertain you whether you want it to or not. It will hit you over the head and chain you up in a basement if it has to in order for you to appreciate the differences in these two films and that as a standalone film, this particular thriller stands tall and assured.
This is a simple but hellacious journey into the maddening realm of broken psyches and the clash of paranoia and actual global events. A majority of this film is set in a bunker underground. The setting isn’t large but the implication of what’s on the other side of the steel door makes this feel less cramped although there are scenes that might make a person squirm from even thinking about being so confined. With such an intimate setting the acting had to be great and with each of three main actors, they are all at the top of their game here. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. (Short Term 12) both give top notch performances but it’s John Goodman that unquestionably steals the show. He is unstable at every turn and with each line the confusion of what is real and what is fabricated grows into a monster all its own. He is absolutely brilliant here and with his co-stars they manage to take a small, wholly unheard of film and elevate it into first-rate thriller territory complete with sprinkles on top.
I have to sum this all up by saying that 10 Cloverfield Lane is batshit crazy and it revels in it. It has wonderful performances, great direction from another first time director and it only creates more intrigue for a world that has monsters of all kinds hell-bent on destruction of every kind.
I have to say this again, this is NOT Cloverfield 2. It’s a “cousin sequel” if I had to give it a name. Don’t expect anything other than something completely different from what you think you know about the world of Cloverfield. And just enjoy the ride and go where it takes you.
Rated PG-13 for: thematic material including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language
Runtime: 103 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., John Goodman
Directed By: Dan Trachtenberg
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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