Thursday, December 22, 2016

Film Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Copyright: Paramount Pictures
I can only describe a film like 10 Cloverfield Lane as a classy thriller horror. I say classy because it does provide a certain level of style and commitment that elevates it above what most other three-man movies with a story vaguely similar to this one.

As a spiritual successor of Cloverfield which has nothing to do with the previous film aside from the idea that regular people are placed into unexpected, enormous and outwardly danger, the film comes with the burden or recognition and expectations. But, in spite of this, the “sequel” works pretty well in its narrow (literally and figuratively) playing field. Of course, the original Cloverfield did not have John Goodman, an actor who can make all the difference for a movie.

Here, Goodman didn’t have to swoop in and save the day because the rest of the film is solid. Its director, Dan Trachtenberg created his first-time feature-length but he found his bearings rather well, keeping things minimal much in the same way as the plot – the film covers a Michelle, a young woman who is in a car crash, after which she wakes up in an underground bunker, where a man claims the world is under a total chemical or biological attack. The woman and the captor/savior, along with a young man, are locked in the bunker.

From the initial premise, the film quickly develops several narratives, but the two are important: a lifeboat scenario mixed in with an investigative sub-plot. In the confinement of the bunker, Goodman was able to show off his talent, but so was Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the relentless Michelle. Their interplay works exceedingly well when the tension is cranked up and this is the primary driving force of the film.

Through its short run-time, Trachtenberg is able to keep a steady hold of the reigns and steer 10 Cloverfield Lane into a satisfying conclusion (along with a very J. J. Abrams touch to its finale, which was included in the production). As a small horror/psychological thriller, the film attained its maximal potential.

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