Friday, October 7, 2016

Movie Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) directed by Dan Trachtenberg

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) flees from her fiance. As she is driving at night, another car runs her off the road. She wakes up in a concrete room. She's chained to the wall and has a IV in her arm. She soon finds out she was saved by Howard (John Goodman), who brought her to the bunker and has saved her from certain death. He built this survival shelter under his farm and is waiting for the fallout to dissipate from whatever biological or nuclear attack has happened in the outside world. Michelle only has his word for it. And that of fellow bunkermate Emmet (John Gallagher Jr.). Emmet claims to know Howard, hinting Howard is both a survivalist and a conspiracy theorist. What is Michelle to believe?

The story unwinds in a tense fashion. Howard definitely isn't right in the head but is he the good kind of crazy or the bad kind? Goodman's performance keeps viewers guessing. As a character, Howard clearly sees himself as good but Michelle is unsure. She wants to get out and has more than one riveting escape attempt. More details are revealed about Howard throughout the film, making it a satisfying mystery since most questions are answered by the end. Michelle is a likable and intelligent heroine well played by Winstead.

The movie has a very superficial relationship to Cloverfield. Occasional hints at connections can be caught by astute viewers but they don't amount to much and are only a distraction from this story. Both movies are thrilling but I found this one much more satisfying. The characters here are more interesting and likable than in Cloverfield. The story is more believable and more tense, making it a much better movie.

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