10 Cloverfield Lane Review (Spoiler Free)
In short, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a psychological suspense thriller which, as you can probably tell from the trailer, is predominantly set in an underground bunker.
While sharing a name with the 2008 found footage monster movie ‘Cloverfield’ has caused much confusion, I can confirm that the link is nothing more than spiritual and you do not have to see either for the other film to be enjoyed.
Our protagonist Michelle finds herself trapped in an underground bunker with two men who claim that the earth above her has become inhospitable, and it is in this simple premise that 10 Cloverfield Lane finds its strength; as the audience is left questioning the motives of Michelle’s host and whether the true danger lies within the shelter or outside of it.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays her role well as the defiant and quick thinking Michelle who tries to understand her situation and her apparent imprisoner, however it is the owner of the bunker Howard, who really caught my attention.
Played by John Goodman, the overbearing and perplexing host claims to be Michelle’s ‘savior’ and weaves in and out of the plot as she conspires with another occupant to find out the truth about the world above them. But whenever he is on-screen, John Goodman is nothing short of captivating as he emphasises the sense of mystery by being domineering and heavy handed in one moment then effortlessly transitioning into someone seemingly more vulnerable and approachable.
Is he a caring, if eccentric, father figure or a forceful and uncompromising captor? The movie throws us back and forth from one answer to the next in its excellent storytelling which is spearheaded by John Goodman’s enthralling performance.
While not technically a character, the setting itself also becomes a powerful storytelling device. The claustrophobic and confining bunker symbolises Michelle’s situation perfectly and, as an audience member, the agitation and monotony of life within it becomes all too relatable because of it.
These factors are made even more impressive when taking into account that this masterfully put together psychological thriller is a directorial debut, and thus leaves me very eager to watch Dan Trachtenberg’s movie career closely.
All in all, a terrific suspense flick that will have you terrified, relieved then terrified again.