Room meets… well, Cloverfield.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Michelle, a runaway on the road when her car is hit by another, and she wakes up seemingly captive in an underground bunker. John Gallagher Jr is the fellow captive, Emmett. John Goodman is Howard, the navy vet who has built the bunker in preparation for what he describes as an apocalyptic attack. It’s one or two years before the air is safe to breathe and they can see daylight again. Or is it?
10 Cloverfield Lane is essentially two different movies. One thing is for sure, from the Lars-Von-Trier-esque montage opening, right through to the (very J J Abrams) finish, we’re kept second-guessing ourselves. In the confines of the bunker, dynamics are exposed and a range of pretty interesting scenarios unfold. We don’t know what exactly Michelle was running from in the beginning, we don’t know if we can trust the two guys she’s sharing the bunker with, especially Howard. But most of all, we really want to know WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON ABOVE GROUND. And that’s what kept my attention throughout.
The nod towards Cloverfield is a clever tactic, and it does act as a device because it makes us wonder if the world is under attack from a gigantic, mysterious space creature. But the steadier camera and the focus on the more realistic, human side of the story leads us down many different paths.
I thought all three characters in this were fascinating, with Mary Winstead leading the way as a strong female. She’s not stupid and doesn’t make moronic decisions. And she knows how to make a pretty good molotov cocktail. John Gallagher Jr really is a character we grow to care about, and John Goodman is suitably neurotic, quite unnerving and, well… weird.
Although the ending left me with a raised eyebrow, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. With a teasing build of tension, a sprinkling of shock and a giant barrel of highly corrosive acid, I would highly recommend this one.