10 Cloverfield Lane
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I first saw previews for 10 Cloverfield Lane, I was intrigued. I love John Goodman and the character he was portraying was so hard to read – was he a psychopath or was he just an eccentric guy trying to save someone’s life. Then, I heard the score by Bear McCreary and I was sold – I had to see this movie. Sure, I hadn’t seen the original Cloverfield film, but I was confident that this wouldn’t be a problem.
Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) leaves her home in New Orleans following an argument with her fiancée (Bradley Cooper). Driving through rural Louisiana at night, she receives a call from Ben. The next thing she sees is the concrete cell she is being kept in, handcuffed to the wall with a brace around her leg. Her captor arrives and introduces himself as Howard (John Goodman) and explains that he rescued Michelle from a horrible car accident.
Though he explains away the restraints as the only way he could keep her from hurting herself before she was healed, Michelle is suspicious, especially after hearing that Howard has taken her to a bunker after a mysterious attack. The only other occupant of this bunker is Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) who insists that Howard is telling the truth about the attack and that they could not go outside because the air was contaminated.
The longer she stays in the bunker, the harder she finds it to believe that Howard is telling the truth. Michelle has seen plenty that suggests that Howard is not lying about what is happening outside the bunker, but some of Howard's stories regarding the bunker itself, how she got there and his family just don't jibe. And Howard's temper...well, that's another thing entirely. What's real and what's in Howard's mind? Is it safer in the bunker with him as he claims or is the real danger within the bunker? Michelle's about to find out.
I feel I must remind you that I never saw the original Cloverfield film. For this reason, it was a clear gamble to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane. I ran the risk that I would be totally lost watching the sequel to a movie I have never seen. The gamble paid off. I discovered that, while this movie had a link to the last (I won't give it away in case you haven't seen the original), 10 Cloverfield Lane was its own film and I never felt lost watching it.
I believed in the power of John Goodman as an actor and took a chance on the storyline being just as good and it paid off. John Goodman is amazing as the mysterious Howard. You are always guessing what his true nature really is...you kind of believe him, yet there is something you aren't quite sure of. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is excellent in her role as Michelle - we believe in her fear; we hope for her safety and we root for her to come out on top. John Gallagher, Jr. is interesting as Emmett - one minute inept, the next seemingly likeable. He portrayed the role just as it was supposed to be.
The set design was perfect here as was the cinematography. The starkness of the cells in the bunker in contrast with the living space goes extremely well with Howard's duality of nature. When we are in the concrete sections of the bunker, there is despair and fear, but the living space is designed to make on feel at home. The music by Bear McCreary is perfect for this film, offering up just that much fear and doubt, but still presenting a theme for Michelle that expresses her innocence and evolves into that of a hero.
The storyline is utterly believable - just like The Walking Dead, this film shows what human nature is brought out in the midst of tragedy. That is all I am willing to reveal about the plot. I don't want to be a spoiler. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane immensely and have taken to recommending it to everyone I know as a must see movie.