10 Cloverfield Lane
March 11, 2016 - 1 hr. 43 min.
Director - Dan Trachtenberg
Writers - Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Starring - John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
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Read the Review by Keith Cheatham
In 2008, in the peak of handheld found footage films, producer JJ Abrams and director Matt Reeves brought us the mystery, the thriller, and supernatural tale, of what it would be like for average people in the midst of an attack on New York. This attack of course was perpetrated by a 200 foot tall monster. This movie was Cloverfield. Now 8 years later, JJ Abrams, this time teaming up with director Dan Trachtenberg, we receive another mysterious, suspense thriller, not a direct sequel, but as Abrams calls it, a blood relative: 10 Cloverfield Lane.
JJ Abrams has been a busy man, from hit TV shows, to revitalizing many stale franchises, Abrams has become a geek pop icon idol. For years, people speculated on his and director Reeves return to Cloverfield, would there be a sequel? Well, anyone going into 10 Cloverfield lane should not expect a sequel, Abrams has said as much, and to do so could tarnish how much you enjoy the new film, but it's so well done, and so good, I think any disappointment you'd have would ultimately fade away as you watch the struggle of Michelle played my Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
First off, unlike its predecessor 10 Cloverfield Lane, is filmed in the traditional sense, and is not a found footage film, this is the first thing to set it apart from Cloverfield, an aspect many people hated about the first. It tells the story of Michelle, a young woman running away from her stresses. She is run off the road, and rendered unconscious, only to wake up in a bunker, chained up by a man named Howard, played by John Goodman, who informs her that essentially the world outside is gone. To leave the bunker would be certain death. However, Howard isn't quite who he seems to be. And joined by the only other resident in the bunker Emmet, played by John Gallager Jr., Michelle begins to discover for herself what the truth if her new situation is.
If this plot seems entirely unrelated to the first film, well in a way it is. Remember this is not a direct sequel, but there are subtle tie-ins, and a bigger tie-in at the end. Also, it's not the what the story is, that makes this worth of the name Cloverfield, but how the story is told. In the first Cloverfield you never know more than what the characters know. Where did the monster come from? Has it always been here, is it extraterrestrial, or a government experiment? What's the government doing, and are our friends and families alive or dead? These are all similar questions to ask in 10 Cloverfield lane. You never know more than what Michelle knows, the two films DNA are definitely related. What happened to the world outside? Is it the government, invading forces, or as the paranoid Howard suggest, perhaps extraterrestrials? Who is Howard for that matter, and can he be trusted? It's suspenseful, and not all of your questions will be answered, but that's okay. That's what Cloverfield is all about. As such I find the title fitting, even if the two films do not take place in the same world.
All of this doesn't speak of the quality of the film itself. Driven by incredible performances from Goodman and Winstead, these characters hold your attention the whole film. All expertly directed by Trachtenberg, who keeps you guessing as to what exactly the truth is. 10 Cloverfield lane is a worthy successor to the first and worth your time.
I give 10 Cloverfield Lane 3.5 out of 4 stars.