This sort-of-sequel to 2008’s “Cloverfield” stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a young woman who wakes up after a car accident and finds herself inside an underground bunker. The older man who “rescued” her claims the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.
I must confess that I haven’t yet watched 2008’s “Cloverfield.” It’s always been on my “to-watch” list, and the DVD has been floating around here for years. After watching the sequel, though, it’s going to the top of my list. I loved this movie, and saw it in IMAX, which made it extra intense. Now I’ve gotta go back and watch the origin story, although I’ve heard it has a much different vibe than this movie.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, a woman who has a fight with her boyfriend and decides to leave town. On the highway, however, she’s involved in a car accident. When she wakes up, she’s not in a hospital. She’s in an underground bunker, and things aren’t looking good. Her injured leg is in a makeshift splint, and she’s chained to a wall in her small, cement-block room.
A foreboding man named Howard (John Goodman) brings her a tray of food and tells her there’s been an attack. The air outside is toxic. There’s been a chemical attack, and everyone is probably dead, including her boyfriend and family. But no worries, she’s safe with him in his bunker.
There’s also another guy there – Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), a contractor who helped build the bunker. But the whole situation is weird (as you might imagine), and Howard isn’t exactly a warm, friendly guy. So Michelle starts devising an escape plan. But what exactly is outside the door? Could it be even more dangerous than what’s inside the bunker?
As mentioned, I love everything about this movie. It’s got a bit of a Hitchcockian vibe, because we don’t know precisely what’s outside the bunker. The story depends more on ideas and creepy feelings and loud noises rather than special effects. Strong performances by three fine actors help to sell the creep-factor. The movie is flat-out nervy.
And the fact that this movie, directed by Dan Trachtenberg and produced by J.J. Abrams (who also produced the first “Cloverfield”), was made pretty much in secret is a major coup. Most people didn’t know anything about it until the trailer played in front of “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” in January. Every movie blogger raced home after that movie to spill the beans.
I can’t say too much about the ending without being spoilery, but let’s just say it’s the perfect wrap-up that sets things up for another movie (but of course).
Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language
Released in Theaters: March 11, 2016 (2D, IMAX)
Best for Ages: 14+
Genre: Thriller, Sequel, Sci-Fi
Runtime: 103 minutes
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher, Jr.
PARENT OVERVIEW: “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a thriller that includes bits of sci-fi violence, as well as explosions, deaths, guns, shooting, knives, bottle-smashing, some blood and bloody wounds. Assorted other startling images include dead, rotting pigs; a panicky woman with a rashy face; a car crash, etc. Language includes one “f–k” and one “s–t.” A female character is shown in her underwear. Characters drink homemade vodka in one scene, mostly for medicinal purposes.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.