It’s not a sequel!
So what exactly is 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE? The minds of many have been going round and round like a squeaky hamster-wheel. Is it a sequel? Is it a spin-off? Is it a flick within itself? Truth is, all thoughts can be meshed into one considering producer J.J. Abrams refers to it as a “blood relative” to 2008’s CLOVERFIELD. So, logically, just because you’re related to someone, doesn’t mean you’re the same. Originally titled THE CELLAR and shot under the moniker VALENCIA, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is, without doubt, in a class by itself!
Taking giant steps away from the hand-held, first person POV we embraced a while back, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE presents itself in a narrative that follows a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) tangled in a complex web of confusion after a brutal accident. Finding herself locked in a cellar with a doomsday prepper (John Goodman), who insists that he saved her life, raises levels of anxiety as he emphasizes that the world outside is uninhabitable anymore following an apocalyptic catastrophe. Not sure what to believe, the woman soon determines that she must escape by any means necessary.
Sure. Not exactly what you were expecting, correct? Well, that’s exactly how I felt as soon as this creature feature started rolling. As someone who’s not really into sequels or spin-offs, this one surely isn’t either and for its tip-of-the-hat to its “blood relative,” 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE felt like a maniacal maze of mystery. As the film grips you with its tentacles of terror, from a character’s point of view, MICHELLE (Mary Elizabeth) is the key point in touching one’s psyche as there’s nothing scarier than NOT knowing what’s going on inside your enclosure, or outside a world you’re use to existing in. Beat after beat, feeding off the most drastic of uncertain situations, it’s Goodman’s character of HOWARD who’s the one that maintains some kind of chaotic comfort amongst the worst of times. Providing in the most paranoid ways, whether man or alien made, this man’s got it all figured out for the greater good. Or does he? Not being able to read between his sociopathic lines makes this piece not only frightening for the characters in the film as a whole, but yourself as an audience member by not being able to wrap your head around drastic measures of life and death.
For a flick that provides very simple substance, it’s full of surprises and of course its ultimate payoff is what you, as a person vested in this piece, came to see it for! I’m not sure if it’s the build-up upon the alien annihilation on Earth, or Mary Elizabeth’s courage among chaos, or John Goodman’s paranoid role, but the film itself is a mind-boggling journey between human extinction and survival. Starting off like SAW and ending like something along the lines of I AM LEGEND, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is a surprisingly engaging, entertaining piece – and one of the best this year so far!
It’s intense. It’s scary. It’s mysterious. But most of all… it’s pretty fucking awesome knowing it’s an actual first-time feature by director Dan Trachtenberg. (Keep an eye on this guy!)
Grade: A / Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 1:45
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, Matt Vairo
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg