Imagine you’re already in a highly emotional state. You’re driving away. There is an accident. When you wake, you’re chained to a pipe, in a windowless room. You’re terrified for your life. That’s when your captor tells you the one thing that makes you forget you’re trapped underground with a potential lunatic: everyone outside of this bunker is dead. Welcome to 10 Cloverfield Lane, where not everything is what it seems.
From J.J. Abrams, 10 Cloverfield Lane has spawned a new genre, the non-sequel. Set in the same world as the 2008 blockbuster Cloverfield, it’s less a sequel and more of a Marvel Universe-style adjacent picture.
Starring Mary-Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman, the picture focuses heavily on character development, unlike its parent film. Mary-Elizabeth Winstead turns in a fine performance as a woman who runs from everything, until she’s forced to stay put. Her acting is subtle and completely believable.
John Goodman puts in one of the scariest and creepiest performances in recent memory. At certain points, even though he’s already been painted as being untrustworthy, you believe him anyway. This is due in part to Damien Chazelle, writer/director of Whiplash (one of the best character driven films in the last 10 years), adding a much-needed polish to what could have been a flat film.
Dan Trachtenberg, director, does a credible job with the film. Of Totally Rad Show fame, Dan is making his feature directorial debut. This doesn’t mean that Dan doesn’t have the chops; if you haven’t seen his short film, Portal: No Escape, do yourself a favor and watch it as soon as you’re done reading this review. Dan is good at building suspense. He paces the film well and handles the twists and turns with the deft hand of a seasoned veteran. There are issues, sure, but these can be easily overlooked.
To combat any potential pacing problems of the film, Bear McCreary’s score does a phenomenal job of pushing the pace forward. It’s catchy, worming its way into your brain long after the film ends. It’s nice to see Bear finally getting his time to shine in the “big leagues”, being the veteran of numerous TV shows. This is Bear’s third (YES, THIRD), movie he’s scored that has been released this year, and it’ll just be a matter of time before he’s nominated for an Oscar.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a pulse-pounding thriller that delivers on all fronts. While its connection to Cloverfield is tenuous, this can be easily ignored as the movie is just Really. Damn. Good. Do yourself a favor, and go check it out.