Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane – A non-stop thrill ride

In January, the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane was released, taking the Internet by storm as this movie was made completely in secret, something that never happens in modern day cinema. It tells the story of woman being held within a shelter with two men who claim the outside world has been attacked by a nuclear or chemical disaster. It has barely any plot relation to Cloverfield, which came out in 2008; one can only guess that its name was used for marketing purposes. Producer J. J. Abrams, who also produced Cloverfield, calls it a ‘blood relative’. This film is Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut and you have to marvel at how that it possible, as this is one of the best films of the year so far. The tension is palpable from start to finish in this thriller, and every time a new twist is revealed the audience can’t help but hold their breath.

These breathtaking reveals are enhanced by the great central performance given by Mary Elizabeth Winstead – she captures the fright and brilliance of the female protagonist Michelle perfectly. However, the standout role is a character called Howard who is played by John Goodman, in what is a fantastic – perhaps even career-best – performance. Goodman shows his real acting range while performing as this man; his mood can change on a knife-edge and he is truly terrifying. The third inhabitant in the bunker is Emmett, who is played by John Gallagher Jr. His acting was proficient however his character didn’t have much depth, which some people may be disappointed with due to his very good performance in Short Term 12. This is basically the films entire cast, and within this bunker is where Trachtenberg’s direction excels, teleporting the audience into this cramped area with the 3 people.

Furthermore, the brilliant sound editing/mixing only helps in creating this intense environment, adding to the sense of mystery surrounding the outside world. In addition, the soundtrack by Bear McCreary essential to creating a puzzling atmosphere. The only major flaw with 10 Cloverfield Lane is the last ten minutes, which can feel very rushed and overbearing in the cinema. Nonetheless, it is somewhat effective in giving a satisfying end, even if it happens quickly.

All in all, this movie is a thrill ride from start to finish and is definitely best seen on the big screen.

James Berman

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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