Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)


Movie Synopsis:

After a frightening car crash on the highway, Michelle wakes up with injuries, but more worrisome is the fact she wakes up in a bunker beneath the surface of the earth.  She eventually meets Howard, an odd, reclusive man, who tells her that he brought her, and one other man, underground due to a serious chemical attack on the surface.  Michelle must decide whether to trust either of the men she is underground with, or whether she should plot to escape to the unknown surface.

Movie Review:

This film, which was mainly a thriller but also had slight feelings of light horror, adventure, and taut drama as well, came together very nicely.

The story was very well laid out by the writers, and they did a great job building true suspense and fright for the audience.  There were no gimmicks here.  Furthermore, the writers did a nice job of writing some complex, believable, multi-faceted characters, who were played by skilled actors.  Howard was an interesting character, and the audience never knew quite what to make of him.  Dangerous predator, paranoid man with delusions, or some sort of wacky genius who had it right to build a liveable bunker underground?  The writers did a great job keeping the audience guessing.  John Goodman did a wonderful job bringing Howard to life.

The scenes between Howard, Michelle, and Emmett were suspenseful at times, fun and comedic at times, but always building towards the unknown conclusion of the movie.  The sense of impending doom was well established by the writing and directing team, and thus overall this film worked.

The one thing detracting from the stylistic beauty and strong narrative of the film was the last quarter.  Without revealing any spoilers, where the first three quarters of the film were suspenseful and believable, the last quarter of the film almost became too much, in terms of taking us in an entirely different direction.  Although this could have worked, it felt very jarring and the way it was filmed it felt strangely out of place with how the first three quarters of the film went.  For example, Michelle, who is an artsy person, all of a sudden is able to turn on some incredible skills in terms of self defense, attack, knowing how to survive sudden drops, rolling into an all out run, and so forth.  These amazing abilities from Michelle seem surprising and a little farfetched from what we know of her.

However, this aside, as a whole this is a successful thriller, and worth the watch.

Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.