Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
If you approach 10 Cloverfield Lane expecting something that resembles Cloverfield, you’re going to be a bit disappointed. This film isn’t a found footage piece. There’s no tangible connection to any of the players from the first film in the second. No one’s running around aiming to evade an assortment of ugly aliens. No, this is a different animal altogether. A very, very different animal.
In the opening minutes of the film we see “Michelle” getting into her car, off and moving, followed by a suspicious truck she spotted moments prior. They’re each moving at a comfortable rate of speed down the highway when the driver of the truck guns it, passes and runs her off the road.
An undetermined amount of time later she wakes. Shackled to a flimsy bed in an underground bunker. Naturally, she’s a bit freaked out. But things are going to get even stranger for her, and nothing that happens within the depths of the earth can change what’s occurring above ground… or what’s about to happen in her new subterranean Hell.
10 Cloverfield Lane is twist built upon twist, which limits the details I can give you. What I can tell you is that Mary Elizabeth Winstead once again turns in a performance that should have her in every discussion related to modern day scream queens. John Goodman is as intense and polarizing as he’s ever been and John Gallagher Jr. makes a big announcement in the film, and that’s the simple but moving announcement that he’s here, he’s talented, and it isn’t likely he’s going anywhere. A fresh face with an unknown ceiling and a willingness to work in genre films bodes well for fans in the long term.
10 Cloverfield Lane does have a connection to the first film. That connection will not be revealed until the final act of the film, and while it is important to the story as a whole, there are so many other elements to this story that hold our attention, that particular reveal doesn’t shock on the level I imagine director Dan Trachtenberg might have preferred. But the fact that we can see that revelation coming doesn’t deem it a failure by default, it still works. It still looks impressive (though rather dark) and it still fits comfortably into the narrative.
To be as blunt as possible, 10 Cloverfield Lane is an excellent film that ranks amongst the year’s very best. Seek this one out, you may not agree with every decision made in the film, but you’ll respect the intensity and professionalism that bleeds from the production right through the television screen. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a picture pushed forward by passion and love of a great story, and sadly, we don’t see that all too often these days.