10 Cloverfield Lane: Review

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

John Goodman | The Overall Story | Rooting For Mary Elizabeth Winstead

The end comes on like a flood


Is it a direct sequel to the 2008 movie Cloverfield? It is a side story? A prequel perhaps? Once again, I was intrigued on the possibilities and lack of knowledge of what JJ Abrams referred to as a “blood relative” to the previous alien-disaster movie. Let me say that it is very hard for a movie to keep an audience’s attention that stays in one setting for almost the entire duration. As you can see from the trailer, 10 Cloverfield Lane takes place in an underground bunker with just three characters indicating that apocalyptic doom has happened on the outside. The entire movie does not let up, making you feel every range of emotion as we try to unravel the mystery of what happened in this story. Within a catastrophic event, humans turn to the most visceral parts of their psyche to make some sense of it. We always have to be in control. The movie rips at all the available emotions and fears that a person may have when they learn that all is lost.

Dan Trachtenberg makes his directorial debut here and makes use of setting to get everything out of the story and actors alike. There are subtle things that set the film apart – for example, a slightly out of focus camera that goes into focus showing the terror on a character’s face. Also, the placements of Bear McCreary‘s music score at the right times to heighten the urgency of the particular scene are fantastic. Known for his previous short film Portal, Trachtenberg, along with a story from Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, draws from previous great tales like The Twilight Zone and even War Of The Worlds. Those are just the references that I can state off the bat. You can literally break pieces of the film down and find smart inspiration from any mystery or suspenseful novels or movies in a modern sense.

All of the players bring a little something to the table. John Goodman‘s Howard character is reminiscent of Misery‘s Annie Wilkes. Something is clearly off, but Goodman’s portrayal keeps you guessing whether the disaster actually happened or not. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds her way to the bunker leaving her boyfriend during a fight. Her character meets the third survivor Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) and they both make you feel empathy for two different reasons. The audience, while holding their breath, will relate to Michelle’s ingenuity and the comic relief of Emmett. Three characters are more than enough to keep you guessing motivations and the reality of the situation at hand.

I could go on and on about the nuts and bolts of this movie and how modern horror can learn from it. For spoiler’s sake, I’ll let you see it and make your own deliberations. When I see a movie, I like to be surprised and rack my brain on what I experienced afterwards. The “don’t call it a sequel” movie that we did not know we were getting shows that the most dire of settings can make monsters of us all.


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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Journalist, Self-published author of five books, podcast host, and photographer since 2014, Murjani Rawls has been stretching the capabilities of his creativity and passions, Rawls has as a portfolio spanning through many mediums including music, television, movies, and more. Operating out of the New York area, Rawls has photographed over 200+ artists spanning many genres, written over 700 articles ranging displaying his passionate aspirations to keep evolving as his years in media continue.

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