10 Cloverfield lane is a riveting psychological drama with a cheesy Sci Fi section tacked onto the end. It is basically a 3 actor show, that would make an excellent play.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Michelle, a shy young woman who throughout her life has run away from her problems rather than risk any sort of confrontation. She has a car accident, and wakes up to find herself locked in an underground bunker.
The bunker is owned by a survivalist named Howard (John Goodman) who claims the United States is under attack and that he has actually saved Michelle’s life.
Michelle is intelligent enough to remain calm and try to to figure out a way to escape this psychopath. But just when it seems like many other horror movies, there is a plot twist. Evidence begins to mount that the U.S. really is under attack, and that Howard is the savior he claims to be.
There is one other occupant of the bunker, a young man about Michelle’s age named Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) He is a nice, mild mannered guy who becomes an ally of Michelle’s.
The three people in the bunker become a sort or weird post-apocalypse family unit, with Howard as the domineering and feared father figure. Michelle and Emmett begin to realize that maybe Howard is both a savior and a psychopath.
The performances of a 3 actors is incredibly good and the audience can really feel the tension that would slowly build if 3 people were locked together underground for an extended period of time.
However, the director could not resist a few horror film cliches. The most obvious is that of an extended scene where Mary Elizabeth Winstead is struggling wearing only her tight tank top and panties. The tension would have been just as real if the actress had been wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, but Hollywood cannot resist the opportunity to show the maximum about of female skin whenever possible.
The ending is also very disappointing and it feels like you somehow jumped into an entirely different movie. However, the scenes in the bunker make this a film worth watching and one you will remember.
- We Rate 10 Cloverfield Lane Four Stars ****
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