Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
Written by Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken, and Damien Chazelle
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, and John Gallagher, Jr.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” is the pseudo-sequel to 2008’s “Cloverfield.” While “10 Cloverfield Lane” is not a literal sequel, it is what producer J.J. Abrams refers to as a “blood relative” of “Cloverfield.” How “10 Cloverfield Lane” is related to “Cloverfield” alludes me. “10 Cloverfield Lane” is not found footage, it is set in a different part of the country, the attack in the movie does not appear to have any connection with the events of “Cloverfield.” Unless both events have the same genesis point, I cannot connect the dots of both movies because, in a world where one of the world’s major cities is attacked by a monster, I am pretty sure that would be something that bears repeating. The great thing about “10 Cloverfield Lane” is that it does not matter how it connects to “Cloverfield,” because this movie is an excellent standalone sci-fi thriller.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” excels in its use of its limited setting, one interior, and one exterior. A majority of the action takes place in the one interior, the bunker because the movie takes primarily in this single location it is one of those movies that feels like a play. Personally, I like the feels like a play atmosphere in movies because then the filmmakers have to be more creative with how they develop the film. All of the action and all of the interactions between the characters have to take place within the confines of that single space. Confining the story of “10 Cloverfield Lane” to the bunker made you feel the claustrophobia, and adds to the tension of the movie.
The performances in “10 Cloverfield Lane” were fantastic, especially the performances of the two leads Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman. Granted the movie only contains three characters, but the character played by John Gallagher, Jr. is more a supporting role, rather than a third lead. Goodman gave an outstanding performance in the movie. He is believable as a weirdo/psycho survivalist. I could give into hyperbole and say that Goodman was the first Oscar caliber performance of the year, but I doubt that this performance will carry him that far. Not that it has to, to be an excellent performance.
While how “10 Cloverfield Lane” connects to “Cloverfield” is unknown, and frankly irrelevant, “10 Cloverfield Lane” stands on its own. As a stand alone “10 Cloverfield Land” works, and works well. The movie headlined by strong performances and a tight script is a must-see, a must-see in the theater.