10 Cloverfield Lane | Spoiler Free Review

Last night was meant to be the night I could squeal and satisfy my excitement and near blinding joy at seeing this little known about movie, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, is it a sequel or isn’t it dammit!?!? As soon as I got the invite I was like a My Little Princess freaky tween girl getting a pony for Christmas and then my mum invites me to her own exhibition opening in Sydney ON THE SAME NIGHT and I considered divorcing my mother, hiding on the streets until I had seen the movie or burning the art gallery down, sadly, alas, I gave my tickets to a very excited Kernel Blake who went along with his squeeze and lost his shit at the movie for me. Just like FIGHT CLUB – if you see 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE – DO NOT TALK ABOUT 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE!!! Blake has kept this spoiler free (lucky for him or it would have been death by paper cuts) and I cannot wait to see it ASAP. It released today from the fine folks at Paramount Pictures Australia, is rated M and runs for 105mis. All the best………..JK.

 

10 Cloverfield Lane Movie Poster image

 

BY BLAKE CURRALL

In 2008 a trailer for a film hit the internet and left people speechless. No title, no actors, just a shot of the Statue of Liberty’s head smashing its way down an avenue in New York. All people were left with was a date and a combined thought of ‘what the hell was that?!’ The marketing for CLOVERFIELD eight years ago was brilliant, giving nothing away except the smallest nugget of tantalizing footage to get people interested in seeing what it was all about.

Skip forward eight years to January 2016, and again a trailer, seemingly out of nowhere, is released online showing very little of what the film is about and ending with a title, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. In an age of movies having teaser trailers for their teaser trailers and every joke/action set piece/pivotal moment played out before the film is actually released, it’s an amazing feat from the team at Bad Robot to show a trailer for a film literally nobody knew existed and keep everything about it under wraps right up until its release. Especially when the head of Bad Robot is this film’s producer, JJ Abrams, a name everybody on the planet knows after the release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

This review will be a slight change to my usual in-depth, Pulitzer Prize winning prose (Ed note: Hahahahahahahahaha). Instead I will take a leaf out of Bad Robot’s marketing playbook and keep things as vague as possible, so you can go into this film knowing as little about it as I did, which I have to say again is such a breath of fresh air these days.

 

10 cloverfield lane movie image

 

After the shaky-cam, city wide alien rampage of CLOVERFIELD all those years ago, this semi-sequel, possibly set in the same universe/timeframe, is pared back and more traditional in its cinematography. The majority of 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE takes place in a bunker, deep underground the aforementioned address with only three characters to keep us company throughout the 105min runtime.

It’s very hard to talk about the film without giving too much away, but here goes. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD) is leaving her life and fiancé behind after a fight, heading upstate to run away from her problems. On her road trip she is involved in a car accident with a pickup truck on the highway, flipping her car off the road in the middle of the night.

When she regains consciousness, Michelle finds herself hooked up to a drip and shackled to the wall of a room that looks like Jigsaw from the SAW films had been brought in as an interior designer. It’s cozy…if you’re Hannibal Lecter. Her captor/savior Howard (John Goodman, who needs no introduction) tells her that he pulled her from her car to save her life, as there has been an attack on the outside world, resulting in the death of everyone topside and it is unsafe to be anywhere but her new home inside his underground Doomsday bunker.

 

10 cloverfield lane movie image

 

Naturally, Michelle finds it all hard to believe and sets about trying to escape her new home only to come face to face with what is happening in the outside world, above their heads. Settling in to her new subterranean life with the imposing Howard and fellow ‘inmate’ Emmet (John Gallagher Jr, THE NEWSROOM), a local who helped Howard build his bunker before the world went hooters up.

That’s about all I can give away without spoiling the film, vague I know, but it’s the way this film should be teased so you can experience the tension ratcheting up as it progresses. Continuing the Abrams’ influence of strong female leads, Winstead is great as the inventive, scrappy and crafty Michelle who really propels the story forward, not afraid to confront Howard about his story. Gallagher Jr is fine as good ol’ boy Emmet but it is Goodman who steals the show in a powerhouse performance as Howard, the ex-Navy man who may or may not have a screw loose and have a tin foil tuxedo to go with his tin foil hat. He really is larger than life in this, both incredibly terrifying yet heartfelt and humourous.

The fact that these three characters are pretty much all we have, in a bunker of only three rooms and they can keep the audience riveted for the entire run time is a testament to all involved, especially the sound designers who produce a spine tingling score throughout that adds to the imposing dread of the outside world. There were moments where members of the audience seemingly forgot they were in a room full of people and let out audible warnings to the on-screen characters, so engrossed they were by the events unfolding on screen.

 

10 cloverfield lane movie image

 

It’s been a long time since a movie has come along, seemingly out of nowhere and really blown my socks off. First time director, Dan Trachtenberg does an amazing job at the helm, shooting the bunker in a claustrophobic matter while also giving it a warm, homely feel and a place that you could see yourself happily spending a few years underground. In a way, it feels old fashioned, almost Hitchcockian (it’s a word…) and all the better for it, a slow burn that gets under your skin leaving you with no idea what is going to happen next.

Admittedly there are some issues with the ending where things get wrapped up a little too conveniently for my liking but on the whole, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is a great reminder that Hollywood still has some surprises up its sleeve and one that, hopefully, other films will run with in the future. Please, do yourself a favour and see this as soon as you can before people give too much away, it really is worth flying blind and seeing it unravel for yourself.

 

4 Pops

 

 

Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life, like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. Can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.