Film Review “10 Cloverfield Lane”

Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher, Jr.
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 43 mins

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It’s happened to all of us.

You have a fight with your significant other, grab a bottle of the good stuff and drive off into the night, unsure of where you’re going. Next thing you know, you’re waking up in a small room chained to your bed. OK, it probably hasn’t happened to a lot of people but it does happen to Michelle (Winstead). Thus begins “10 Cloverfield Lane.”

Less a “member” of the “Cloverfield” family than a straight sequel, “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a tight little film featuring three very strong performances. After some confused moments, Michelle meets Howard (Goodman), who informs her that he pulled her from an auto accident and brought her to his home. Home happens to be an underground bunker, which conspiracy theorist Howard built and filled some time ago with the help of the other person in the bunker, Emmett (Gallagher) a drifter who found work with Howard. Unsure of Howard’s intentions, Michelle tells him that her boyfriend is probably looking for her. “No one is looking for you,” Howard replies. He then goes on to explain that “something” has happened in the world. He suspects an attack, though he can’t be sure if it was the Russians or the Martians. He has plenty of ideas on how to defeat both.

What is intriguing about the story here is that we are never sure what the truth is really. Was there an attack? Is Howard just a nice guy with some weird rules (the table in the kitchen is an heirloom, so coasters and placemats will be used at all times) or is he a kidnapper and, possibly, a murderer? You never really know. Goodman is so reliable in supporting work that you sometimes forget what a fine actor he is. Here he gives a full and fleshed out performance and you can’t help but feel sorry about his station in life. Winstead and Gallagher also have some chemistry, though more friendly than romantic.

A word to the wise; if you go into this film looking for the monsters from J.J. Abrams film “Cloverfield” you may be disappointed. However, if you are in the mood for a small and satisfying thriller, then brave the bunker at “10 Cloverfield Lane.”