One of the greatest things 10 Cloverfield Lane has to offer is that the audience really has no idea what to expect going into the film. Very much in the J.J Abrams way, the production for this film has been left completely under-wraps and the trailers have revealed next to nothing. That’s one of the benefits for the movie, so I’m keeping this review short so I don’t spoil anything for you.
Obviously I had no idea what to expect when I went into 10 Cloverfield Lane. No one did. Within the first five minutes they set the tone so you know what kind of movie they are going for, and I found myself instantly engaged. For the rest of the film, I was floored with what was going on. At no point of 10 Cloverfield Lane does the film slow down or lose interest. It uses it’s hour and forty five minute runtime, a surprisingly long one for this type of film, to achieve the best possible effects. The film flies by and I found myself never wanting it to be over.
Director Dan Trachtenberg takes the reigns on creating a film that will hit you with the unexpected, and leave your jaw hanging. Much like how Matt Reeves broke out with the original Cloverfield, the same can be said for Dan Trachtenberg. He carefully builds up tension within scenes that can have no music but makes your heart as background sounds the tiny echoes, ticking clock and to loud rumbles. Trachtenberg has created this very rich but yet claustrophobic world within this bunker that the majority of the film takes place in.
I’ve heard the argument and I’ve sited it a few times in past reviews, that the best way to bring out great performances in actors is to lock them in a single setting and film where they have nothing to hide their performance behind. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, an actress who deserves to get more work than she does, played the character so well as she captures the nervous ticks without acting completely helpless the whole time. John Gallagher Jr., a character who could have been super annoying, ended up being great in the film too, and had really good chemistry with Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
The stand-out of the film is John Goodman. John Goodman is in so many films every year that we sometimes take him for granted and forget how good of an actor he can be. An actor that rather commits whole heartedly to a role. That’s what happens here. He could have easily over-cooked his performance, but he hit just the right level of disturbing and off-putting where you are creeped out by the guy and you can’t be sure if he’s in the right or wrong. It’s a performance similar to Joel Edgerton’s in The Gift.
The music really sets the tone for this peculiar little thriller. Seemingly innocuous events are immediately ominous when Bear McCreary’s sensationally skin-crawling notes begin plucking at nerves. And it leads to a forceful, shocking title sequence, unmasking the “Cloverfield” name as well as a subtle reference to “10 Rillington Place,” an obscure British crime drama based on an actual serial killer.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie you should rush out to the theater to go see. Accept that you know nothing about it going in, and enjoy that experience. Because it’s something that doesn’t happen often and it’s a rare gift when it does. 10 Cloverfield Lane has a lot to offer despite the fact that it’s a very small film.
10 Cloverfield Lane gets an 7.8/10.