10 Cloverfield Lane

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I’ve gotta hand it to J.J. Abrams. He really pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes by making the biggest blockbuster of the last decade while secretly making this little gem. And what a fun surprise! Is it a sequel to Cloverfield? Maybe. Maybe not. Now that I’ve seen it, I could not possibly care less.

10 Cloverfield Lane stands on its own two just fine. Employing that technique I mentioned in my review of The VVitch and paring down the cast to about 3-5 people seems to be incredibly effective. And when you put them all in a small space and lock them away, things get a little weird.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is involved in a car accident that renders her unconscious. When she comes to, she’s on the other end of one of my worst nightmares: in a place she’s never seen, chained down, and her belongings out of reach. Oh, yeah. She’s hooked up to IVs as well. Since all of that other stuff isn’t horrifying enough.

But like so many other strong female leads we’ve seen in recent past, she MacGyvers the shit out of it and has her wits about her when her captor/savior finally stops by to say hey. Howard (I almost actually typed Dan Conner, John Goodman) has an unsettling demeanor at best. After filling Michelle in on how everybody else in the world is dead and he saved her and she’s welcome, she gets to meet their other housemate and our comic relief, Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.).

Okay, so everything seems pretty copacetic in the house. It’s like a much scarier The Waltons. Like, if there were only three of them. And Papa Walton had pretty clearly been deranged and they never left the house and John Boy… poor John Boy.

I guess it’s more like if Rob Zombie directed an episode of The Waltons.

Anyway.

As you may suspect, this are not as A-OK as they may appear to be. Shit ends up going sideways in a real hurry.

Without giving too much away, I will tell you that everybody nails it on this flick. Winstead, Goodman, Gallagher, Jr., Abrams, Dan Trachtenberg, McCreary, Goddard, Cinematographer Jeff Cutter, the set designer, the boom operator… they all just killed it.

I hope that most of you, like me, will go into 10CL knowing little to nothing about it. Abrams teamed up with Drew Goddard — half of the mastermind tag team behind Cabin in the Woods — for this project. The other half being the unstoppable Joss Whedon which is neither here nor there. You definitely feel Goddard’s influence on the story. And perhaps even more exciting, the score! Bear McCreary — you probably know him from the theme he composed for a little program called The Walking Dead — absolutely slayed this soundtrack. It’s whimsical but also impresses upon the audience the notion of impending doom.

I can’t tell you what to do. I won’t tell you how to live your life. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t strongly insist that you see this goddamn movie. Last year, the movie to see in the theater was Mad Max: Fury Road. Same deal here. So, I guess what I’m saying is that if you don’t go see it, I won’t be mad at you. I’ll just be disappointed.

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