Classic Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “10 Cloverfield Lane” which originally appeared here.

A woman named Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) discovers the horrifying truth about the outside world while living in an underground shelter with two men named Howard (John Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.).

This film came as a surprise to others and to me in multiple ways with the first being that we did not know it even existed until a few months ago which is unheard of. I didn’t mind this but don’t think that it affected my enjoyment of the movie. If I had the choice, I would have changed the film’s title but I understand why they named it the way they did. I also heard that they changed and added certain elements to the film so it would better fit with what they were trying to create. I think saying anything else would spoil it.

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I will say that seeing the film does have “Cloverfield” in the title, some may think it has some relation to the film “Cloverfield”, which I haven’t seen, but it is only within the same universe. For those who don’t know the story about this one, after a woman named Michelle (Winstead) is in a car accident, she wakes up in an underground shelter with a man named Howard (Goodman) and another named Emmett (Gallagher Jr.). She soon learns the horrifying truth about the outside world when the surrounding area becomes victim of a devastating chemical attack.

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I will also say that knowing what I did about the film beforehand kind of made things a little anti-climactic for me but I do think that most people could probably have figured it out on their own with the title being the biggest hint. This wasn’t too bad for me as I found everything else about the film to be very well done.

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The thing it was the best at is creating a sense of tension throughout as for the longest time there were things we just didn’t know. We didn’t know how Michelle got to the bunker, we don’t know what’s going on outside, and most importantly, we don’t know Howard and Emmett’s real intentions. This was exciting for me because even though the film is mostly 3 people in a bunker, you still didn’t know what was going to happen. When you think the plot is going in one direction, it suddenly goes in another direction. It’s not only the plot and the script that achieves the tension but the music also helps as well by always being ominous and playing with your nerves.

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What could have been boring since it was mostly 3 people in a confined space, it was saved by the performances of the 3 leads. Winstead was very likeable as Michelle, a woman who never gave up and took care of herself whenever necessary. She was very good at conveying the situation from her facial expressions and actions. Gallagher Jr. was great here as well in a supporting role, having great chemistry with Winstead’s Michelle. Out of the 3, I thought Goodman was the best here. He was a mysterious man who was able to go from charming to scary flawlessly. He was very imposing here as a person as his presence was felt throughout (the confined environment definitely helped). I found the 3 of them very compelling to watch, seeing how each character handled the situation.

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Overall, despite what it may look like, this was a great film, full of suspense and tension, led by amazing performances. It reminds us that monsters come in many forms.

Score: 9/10

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