Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

A woman is either John Goodman’s guest or hostage.

That’s pretty much it.

End of review.

Crap.  That’s only 16 words?

Let’s talk some more then.  BQB here with a review of 10 Cloverfield Lane.


So here’s the deal, 3.5 readers.

Our tale begins with Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) getting into a car accident.  When she wakes up, she’s locked away in an underground bunker.

Her host or captor as the case may be is Howard (John Goodman.)  He informs her that while she was knocked out, a  major attack occurred up above.  It might have been nuclear or chemical, he isn’t sure, but he’s sure that the world above ground is no longer habitable and she needs to stay in the bunker with him.  She’s informed that if she tries to leave the bunker, she’ll let in poison gas that will kill everyone.

OK.  Show of hands, ladies.  How many men have tried the old “the world above ground is uninhabitable due to a chemical weapons attack and you have to stay in this bunker with me until it is safe” trick?  Happens to you like every Saturday night, right?

Yup.  I understand.  It isn’t easy being a woman.

Ah, but here’s the rub.  Howard might be telling the truth.

Thus, the major question of the movie unfolds.  Is Howard a psychotic wack job who built a bunker to hold people captive in, or is he an eccentric conspiracy theorist/doomsday prepper whose crazy desire to build a fallout shelter of his very own paid off when an attack actually happened?

In other words, is he Michelle’s captor or savior?

To add to the confusion, there’s another inhabitant.  Emmett (John Gallagher) is about Michelle’s age.  He’s convinced Howard’s right and there was an attack, but he’s also dumb and gullible so that doesn’t help much when it comes to answering the question.

On top of all that, there are other strange doings afoot, but I don’t want to ruin it for you anymore than I already have.

I loved this movie and I highly recommend it.  It is definitely something for aspiring writers to check out.  It has a Hitchcockian ability to keep the audience on the edge of their seats and J.J. Abrams produced it so you know it’s good.

The writers of this film toss out breadcrumbs and red herrings throughout.  As the movie unfolds clues to support the “this is just a trick to hold people hostage” theory as well as “he’s right and there really was an attack” theory are presented, leaving the viewer to wonder what the hell is going on until the very end.

It’s definitely a “less is more” film.  Most of it takes place inside the bunker itself.

Go see it.  John Goodman’s best work.  Our favorite big guy is getting up there in age, so if the Academy wanted to toss him an award for this, it is a worthy performance.

But they probably won’t because he’s fat and you know…#OscarsSoPretty.

NOTE:  This is not a sequel to the 2008 film Cloverfield.  Remember that movie?  It was one of those “people run away from a monster while taping shaky amateur footage because the Blair Witch Project did it successfully in the late 1990s so everyone else wanted to see if they could recreate it” movies.

I thought it was a sequel myself when the trailer came out.  Mary Elizabeth looks a little bit like one of the actresses in that film (Lizzy Caplan) so maybe that’s why.

And I foresee this could be Mary Elizabeth’s breakout film.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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6 thoughts on “Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

  1. Just saw this last night. Good flick. Didn’t need a Cloverfield tie in at the end. It’s not like people were clamoring for more Cloverfield, anyway. The movie works best when Michelle is inside the bunker.

  2. I definitely want to see this one.

  3. 42atharry says:

    Nice review! I saw it a week or two ago expecting a half-rate lazy cash grab but was honestly amazed at how tight and intense the movie was as a thriller. Was totally looking forward to writing a scathing review but ended up praising it a heap. Also it reminded me of a student film I did a few years ago which was also set in a bunker.

  4. Reblogged this on Bookshelf Battle and commented:

    Best Movie I Didn’t Expect Much From that Turned Out to Be Awesome

    I didn’t think much of 10 Cloverfield Lane and wasn’t expecting much out of it but I was pleasantly surprised. I feel like it deserved more attention than what it got.

    Michelle gets into a car accident. She wakes up in an underground bunker. Howard informs her that he found her and brought her there just in time to avoid an alien attack on the planet.

    Thus, you, as the viewer, start asking questions:

    1) Is Howard a nut who is lying about the alien attack and he just kidnapped a woman to keep her in his bunker?

    2) He is a nut but maybe he’s telling the truth about the alien attack? Perhaps he’s just an eccentric survivalist who under normal circumstances would be a nut but now his nuttiness has paid off?

    3) Split the difference – maybe there are aliens but maybe Howard is still too nutty to chill out alien attack or not?

    It was low budget, three characters, most of the film takes place in the bunker and yet it fills you with a lot of fear and suspense.

    Check it out, 3.5.

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