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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Movie Review - 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher, Jr.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
***This film is currently streaming via Amazon Prime***

Taking place within the same world of its predecessor Cloverfield released eight years prior, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a different beast altogether -- a horror film where monsters take a backseat to the frightening nature of humans.  Distraught over what she sees as a falling out with her fiancé, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), leaves her apartment in New Orleans for somewhere, anywhere.  Her departure is halted, however, when her car is blindsided by a truck causing her to spin out of control and crash.  When she awakens, Michelle is in what appears to be some concrete bunker, the captive of Howard (John Goodman), an ex-Navy officer who claims that above ground chaos is reigning in the form of some apocalyptic event.  Howard is seemingly a bit nutty, but after a few scary events, Michelle and her fellow bunker mate Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) grow to believe that what Howard spouts is actually real, and instead of being a "captive" as she initially thought, Howard's the only thing keeping her alive.  However, there's still hints of distrust amongst the trio because human nature is a fickle and funny thing.

Director Dan Trachtenberg creates a claustrophobic environment enhancing the uneasiness that's already present in both the script (co-written by Academy Award-winner Damien Chazelle) and the characters portrayed by the trio of actors, all of whom hold their own against one another as their allegiances shift scene by scene attempting to figure out who they can trust.  While taking place in the same time period as Cloverfield (presumably, this occurs on the same day as the event in New York City), this 2016 film doesn't really connect with that initial film until its final minutes which does do a little bit to enhance and add to the "Cloverfield" mythology.  (Although, admittedly, these final minutes are actually the least successful aspect of the film.  Despite being well lensed, they stand in too much of a stark contrast to the eighty minutes that came prior.)

Although I think this is an unpopular opinion, 10 Cloverfield Lane is slightly less successful than its predecessor.  It doesn't quite ratchet up the tension in the same way Cloverfield does despite the fact that overall it's a better acted, better produced, and better directed film.  It's a worthy flick and an intriguing addition to what producer J.J. Abrams says is going to be an ever-expanding "Cloverfield" film saga, but it's surprisingly not quite as edge-of-your-seat thrilling as Cloverfield.

The RyMickey Rating:  B

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