10 CLOVERFIELD LANE REVIEWED
“10 Cloverfield Lane” is the best “Twilight Zone” episode since Rod Serling shuffled off this mortal coil. However, it’s not “Cloverfield 2”. What the film serves as is a three part character piece where character actors get to bring their A-game. Mary Elizabeth Winstead might not be a Final Girl, but she has the chops to carry her own in a next-level horror movie. While 10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t quite horror, there are plenty of terrifying moments that allow Winstead to assert herself.
The real star of the film is John Goodman. Goodman has never really had a bad moment. The first person to say “King Ralph” will be reader shamed to the Island of Misfit Preteens (Tumblr). What Goodman does is offer up a character that anchors these kinds of movies. He’s not a good or bad guy. However, he’s terrified and willing do whatever it takes to keep a sense of safety. The third part of this dynamic is the local good ol’ boy played by John Gallagher, Jr. He trusts Goodman’s character, but only in as much as he buys into the story that Goodman’s selling.
Winstead’s lead heroine fights against the supposed horrors awaiting outside until she sees a neighbor woman supposedly gassed to death. Thanks a lot of the Chem Trails, Obama. The trio retreats back into the bunker for a great deal of time, as tensions slowly build while jamming to Tommy James & The Shondells. What happens next would violate the Mystery Box and I’m not one to ruin a quality movie going experience for the dear readers. So, what did I make of the world of “10 Cloverfield Lane”?
I buy that Bad Robot is wanting to turn the Cloverfield brand into an anthology series. While Ryan Murphy has been having great success with the idea on TV, executing it on film requires so much more investment. Western and even Eastern audiences have been conditioned to treat a film series as having certain requirements. A world is built, characters return and we have the promise of a prolonged continuity. What is an audience supposed to make of a film series based on thematic concerns and tangential connections? Honestly, I’m asking as I hope the movie is a success. It’s just that my Spidey sense can already shape out the potential backlash to the film.
As I sat down with the few locals that have seen the movie, we were able to piece together a way of framing it for those that want to go unspoiled. “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a Romero approach to an unseen threat movie. Relying more on mood and tension than what is surely to come, the filmmakers make you anticipate and want for a big bad to show up. The film is found in the waiting, as we see John Goodman become unhinged by the fact that he can’t save everyone. After all, the biggest monsters always believe they are right. When Goodman wheels out that special vat, the monster is out. Even before the big finale, we see the villainy of this film.
So, we’ve got an early Spring film that throws big money behind examining the threat of enclosed fear. Found footage is gone and we don’t have to keep focusing on people screaming and running. After all, that motion provides an “out” and there is only one “out” in this film. I know that it has been joked about already, but I want to throw my voice on the pile. John Goodman deserves an Oscar nomination for this film.
- Rating: PG-13
- Runtime: 1 hr and 45 mins.
- Studio: Paramount