More noise than signal

10 Cloverfield Lane

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

It’s not exactly accurate to call this a sequel to Cloverfield, perhaps more of a side story. But I’ll take what I can get, seeing as all attempts at a big monster movie since then have fallen rather flat. Admittedly, that’s a list of Godzilla and Pacific Rim, but the point remains.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is driving away from problems in her relationship, only to have someone drive into her. When she awakes after the accident, she finds that she’s been taken to Howard (John Goodman)’s underground shelter, and while being locked in a room doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, the bunker’s other inhabitant Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) seems to back up Howard’s crazy story about the end of the world going on outside.

Whether Howard’s right about that or not, it soon becomes apparent that Howard’s mental moorings are none too secure, and there’s a very real suspicion that there’s other skeletons in Howard’s cupboard that would make him even less trustworthy than his out-there survivalist act would imply.

At the risk of perhaps damning this with a faint recap, that’s about as much detail as I feel it’s worth going into without spoiling things about the lead up to the final act, where it’s clear that this is indeed set in the same universe as Cloverfield

There’s a good amount of tension built up by Goodman’s consistently creepy performance and exactly how much faith Michelle and Emmett should be putting in his version of events, and it mines that for all that it’s worth and a little more. In fact, it’s doing such a good job of that aspect that it makes the final act a little difficult to get behind, as it feels like an abrupt change in genre thats’s a little off-putting.

But not enough to really put me off liking the film well enough. A good amount of tension, well-written characters and an intriguing setting make this an engaging and enjoyable watch, and a pleasant little surprise. Well worth looking at.