Hey there. So how many of you liked Cloverfield? Was the found-footage movie about a giant monster rampaging through a city to your liking, or did all that running and camera shaking give you a headache/make you nauseous? Well, whether you liked it or not, it doesn’t really matter that much, because 10 Cloverfield Lane has practically none of the elements of its predecessor.
In fact, though the name Cloverfield is in the title, it’s been called a “spiritual successor” to the original more than a true sequel. 10CL was originally going to be its own movie, with zero elements from Cloverfield. Its original title was going to be The Cellar, and it was going to have a completely different ending. Apparently the people from Bad Robot Productions decided to attach the Cloverfield name to it and market it as a continuation; the ending was changed in the process.
So to briefly talk about the plot. Michelle (Mary Stuart Masterson) has left her fiancee for some unclear reason other than he’s a guy and guys screw up a lot I guess. As she drives to her new destination which escapes my memory atm, she gets run off the road in a loud and jump scary way. It was so loud that the guy sitting a few seats over from me jumped about two inches out of his seat.
Anyway, Michelle wakes up in a bunker, hooked up to an IV drip, and handcuffed to a pipe. Perfectly reasonable scenario for an accident victim, right? We then meet Howard (John Goodman) who eventually explains that he rescued her from not only a car wreck, but what seems to be the end of the world. As you can gleam from the trailers, there is something quite off about Howard, and suspicions from Michelle and the other cellar dwellar Emmett vary throughout, keeping you guessing the whole time as to what Howard’s deal truly is.
The paranoia and claustrophobic feel is one of the strong points of 10 Cloverfield Lane. The trailers (the first one in particular) only made you wonder about what was really going on, and you are still not sure about everything nearly up to the end of the movie. Do you have any idea what a breath of fresh air that is to me? These days, a movie that isn’t predictible in some way is so rare for me to find. And while you obviously know some bad shit is going to go down here, you don’t get a clear indication how or when until it finally happens. The anticipation was killing me the whole time, and I loved every minute of it.
And John Goodman. Oh, that John Goodman. He took the character of Howard and went places that I believe few other actors could take him. His mannerisms, his abrupt outbursts, even his heavy breathing (which I’m not quite sure was acting but was actually Goodman having some issue with breathing) was fine tuned to induce creepiness and keep you on edge as to what he might be capable of next. Even in the end when you’re pretty sure that he’s a slightly unhinged psychopath, you can’t quite help but wonder if he was genuinely trying to help Michelle and Emmett remain safe in his bunker.
That’s not to take anything away from Mary Stuart Masterson, though. Her acting was strong, particularly with showing fear and sadness, and she worked very well with Goodman and Gallagher Jr. I don’t want to downplay Gallagher Jr.s performance, as he also did a good job. But the main conflict was really between the characters Howard and Michelle, and Emmett seemed like more like a third wheel than anything. I wasn’t really as invested in him like I was the other two. Nonetheless, they were both characters I rooted for to come out on top, and I appreciate that.
And the ending? I liked the ending, and I didn’t like the ending. I won’t really talk about it much, so as to avoid spoilers. I can say that while I liked how it was a stark contrast to the claustrophobic, paranoid feel of the previous acts, it just went on too long and lost much of its effectiveness because of it. But that really doesn’t impact the movie overall. It’s a solid piece of cinema that, for a mere $5 million, has so much more going for it than the $100-$200 million dollar, CGI-bloated messes that Hollywood vomits out to the masses. Go see it and support it, and maybe it’ll slowly stem the flow of remake/reboot abominations that are coming out.
–Gravedigger Glen, signing off