10 Cloverfield Lane is a film that is considered to be the ‘spiritual sequel’ to the hit 2008 monster flick, Cloverfield. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg and produced by J. J. Abrams, it is important to note that 10 Cloverfield Lane is not meant to be a directly linked sequel to Cloverfield, but instead involves events which take place within the same Cloverfield universe.
Despite the pleasantry in the film’s title, there is nothing remotely pleasant or ‘normal’ about 10 Cloverfield Lane. The film follows Michelle, who in an attempt to escape from her current life by ‘running away’, meets with a car accident and awakes to find herself in an underground bunker with two men, Howard and Emmett, who explain that the world above is inhospitable due to a chemical attack. Naturally, Michelle is suspicious and begins to plot her escape when the underground bunker, meant to be a safe haven, protecting her, threatens to be far more dangerous than the very thing she is being protected from.
10 Cloverfield Lane was not a film I expected to be drawn into and enjoy; yet this has been, by far, the most thrilling movie I have seen in some time. The secrecy surrounding its release and the lack of detail portrayed in the film’s trailer made for an experience in cinema like no other. With no clue as to what to expect from the film, I had no choice but to sit back, relax and fully take in all that 10 Cloverfield Lane had to offer, and boy, what a ride it was.
Utilising a myriad of cinematic techniques including the use of ominous background music, cut scenes and close-ups, made for a chilling and suspense filled experience, much like watching old Hitchcockian thriller films or old horror films such as The Omen and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Not to mention the sheer brilliance of John Goodman’s portrayal of doomsday-prepper, Howard, a character with such a strong poker face that it’s rather challenging to decide if he’s the hero of the film or the villain. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, too, does a fantastic job of playing Michelle, a female lead with the guts to fight back rather than allow herself to become the damsel in distress.
Surprises, revelations and moments of complete shock filled every facet of the film, leaving viewers with barely a minute to breathe. The narrative of 10 Cloverfield Lane felt incredibly tense and sensational yet realistic, which only added to the film’s chill factor. As a fan of thrillers, 10 Cloverfield Lane kept me on the edge of my seat as I struggled to figure the film out.
Whilst considered to be a dark thriller, closely resembling that of an Alfred Hitchcock flick, 10 Cloverfield Lane certainly had its moments depicting familial togetherness. It’s only natural, after all, for human beings to seek closeness and companionship with those around them, especially when trapped in an enclosed space for a long period of time. To me, this posed some interesting questions about the human condition and the survival instincts we possess.
The film’s narrative was incredibly well crafted and solid right up to the last few minutes of the film, which appeared slightly rushed and perhaps was preparation for a sequel. For the incredible journey that 10 Cloverfield Lane offered, the ending felt rather disappointing in my personal opinion. That is not to say though that there isn’t a strong possibility for an incredibly well laid out plot for a sequel.
10 Cloverfield Lane is very much a film for thriller and cinematography enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy being surprised and astounded by a film’s narrative. Masterfully laid out and well written, with talented actors depicting interesting characters, this film is one I highly recommend and one you’ll likely want to watch a second or third time. Not only is the film brilliant, but viewers may also appreciate the little life lessons etched into the film’s narrative, the stand-out lesson being that everything happens for a reason.
One thing is for certain though. Monsters do come in many different forms.