10 Cloverfield Lane: "Crazy is Building Your Ark After the Flood has Already Come"

Director: Dan Trachenberg
Writer:    Josh Campbell
                Matt Stuecken
                Damien Chazelle
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
                John Goodman
                John Gallagher Jr.
Rating:   *****

Release Date: Out Now

8 years ago, a J.J. Abrams produced found-footage film was released, and that film was Cloverfield. The film followed a group of New Yorkers being terrorised by some sort of creature in the big apple. The film drew in a huge audience, and the found-footage style was a style that hadn't been done in a while. For years people speculated about a possible sequel for the film, and it has often been discussed by Abrams and the director of Cloverfield. However 8 years later, it seemed like it would never materialise; that was until the surprise trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane was unveiled. Abrams has said it is not a direct sequel, but rather a "blood relative" or a "spiritual successor", and after finally seeing the film, I can see and make the connections, and can also enjoy it as a completely separate story.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead & John Gallagher Jr.
The film follows Michelle (Winstead) a young girl driving away from and trying to escape her relationship issues, fairly normal opener. Then she gets in a car accident, and her life is changed...but now how you'd think. When Michelle comes too, she finds herself chained up in an underground bunker by a seemingly unhinged man named Howard (Goodman). Also in the bunker is Emmett (Gallagher Jr.), who seems to believe the stories of the outside world being toxic and dangerous, stories that Howard has told him. Now despite the name of this blog, that is all I am going to tell you of the story; so expect no spoilers.

There is a reason J.J. Abrams likes to shroud his films in secrecy and away from press and the public eye...even his own cast members sometimes. This film is packed with twists, turns and will leave the audience on the edge of their seats; it certainly did me. As the film moves along the pace picks up to a nail biting extent, and you hope and pray for Michelle and her own personal journey. Nearer the end of the film the surprises come thick and fast, and it left my head reeling and gobsmacked.

The cast, though minimal, is fantastic. As always Mary Elizabeth Winstead proves she is a force to be reckoned with and leaves e wondering why film makers aren't making more use of her talent. She throws herself completely head first into the role (and actually, every role she gets); and due to the close confines of the set, you really feel her discomfort and nerves throughout the entire film. Alongside her John Gallagher Jr. supplies plenty of brilliant support both in character and also in his performance. He is far better known as a theatre actor, (starring in American Idiot and Spring Awakening) which is why I don't believe I have seen him in anything before, but it's clear on screen he can hold his own next to Winstead and Goodman.

John Goodman
Speaking of which, this is the first time I have seen John Goodman in a role like this; I've grown so used to lovable monster Sulley or everyone's favourite father Dan Connor, that this role completely knocked me for six. Saying that, it is Goodman that stole the show for me. He brings the perfect blend of genuine family man and man on the brink of a meltdown; creating an enthralling character and giving a genuinely unnerving performance.

The film is a very simple one (for the most part), but that does not stop the creators creating an engaging and uncomfortable setting and story for the audience. Without a terrific script like this one, the film easily could have fallen flat with not much of a spectacle to distract viewers. The script is then delivered superbly by the three stars who manage to take each twist and turn and ensure that you never see them coming, but perform them with a genuine glimmer in their eye. 

Of course pulling everything together is the terrific direction by Dan Trachenberg, who uses lingering close-up shots and fast action camera work perfectly to either make the audience extremely uncomfortable or clenching their fists and willing the actor on. Trachenberg does all he can to bring the best out of the cast, and he does that perfectly. I genuinely couldn't really find fault with 10 Cloverfield Lane, I loved it; and though I've heard some people say the end fifteen minutes was baffling to them, I completely got it and they nailed it.

10 Cloverfield Lane - Trailer