Wednesday, June 29, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

I had very mixed reactions to 2008's shaky-cam monster movie Cloverfield which kept me from seeing this sequel of sorts in theaters. Only tangentially connected to the first film, 10 Cloverfield Lane is an old school psychological thriller which begins when Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is run off the road one night and wakes up chained to a mattress in an underground bunker with a pair of strange men (John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr.).

When the owner of the bunker (Goodman) explains that the world is under attack from aliens, which he saved her from, Michelle can offer only skepticism and struggle to escape. However, as events unfold and she gleans the truth of what happened to the outside world and her captor, the story will take several interesting turns. The first-third of the film plays out like a classic Twilight Zone episode with Michelle struggling to escape only to discover that everything which Howard has told her is true. Although the middle of the film drags at times, tension ramps up in the final act with another discovery by Michelle which once again will alter the status quo.

Those who preferred the spectacle of Cloverfield may not quite know what to make of its more cerebral sequel. For me there is no comparison. While the first movie is a gimmicky found-footage throwaway monster movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a smart, taut thriller that offers Winstead her best role in years and reminds us that, when he wants to, John Goodman can do a fair bit of good acting himself.

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include audio commentary from director Dan Trachtenberg and producer J.J. Abrams, a discussion of the film's differences to Cloverfield, and featurettes on the bunker, the movie's effects, the music and sound in the film, and the gas suit Michelle cobbles together.

[Paramount, DVD $29.99 / Blu-ray $39.99]

No comments: