“10 Cloverfield Lane”

I don’think I’ve landed on this lucky of a moving-going streak during spring before. Between “The Witch”, “Deadpool”, “Zootopia”, and now “10 Cloverfield Lane”, it’s been one hell of a year so far.

Okay, so “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a movie that you should see knowing very little about, so I’ll keep it brief. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up from a car accident in a bomb shelter. She finds two men – the laidback and dimwitted Emmet (John Gallagher, Jr.) and Howard (John Goodman), the hardcore survivalist.

Questions are of course asked. “Why are we in a bomb shelter?” “What happened outside?” “Did it really happen?” “Who the hell is Howard and what’s wrong with him?!”

“10 Cloverfield Lane” is NOT related to the 2008 “Cloverfield” film, but it’s certainly an anthological installment in the series. Don’t expect a party-fueled found footage blend of science fiction and dark comedy; expect an unbearably intense and mysterious thriller with hints of sci-fi!

Freshman director Dale Tratchtenberg and co-writer Damien Chazelle (the genius behind 2014’s “Whiplash”) write a Hitchcockian claustrophobic that’s reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone” and 2011’s “Take Shelter”. There’s a lot of attention to detail in this small old-fashioned-decorated shelter, and enough time for conversations. Their writing also brings the best out of their leads.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead portrays Michelle with that cool mysterious attitude she had as Ramona Flowers in “Scott Pilgrim”, and we root for her from the introduction. We don’t know much about her other than what’s said there, but that’s just enough. John Goodman steals every scene as Howard; Howard is eccentric, menacing, and slightly pathetic, but one of the most fascinating on-screen characters this year.

“10 Cloverfield Lane” isn’t exactly perfect since there are a few scenes that rely on convenience to move forward, but that’s forgivable due to its tight direction and energetic script. Don’t worry, there’s no shaky cam!

Grade: A

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Film lover based in Portland whose goal is to let you know what to see and what not to see.

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