In an age where films are so explicitly promoted it was so refreshing when the news dropped about the secret ‘Cloverfield’ sequel. The first film is a fantastic sci-fi found footage adventure so I welcomed any kind of sequel. With J.J. Abrams being so much more of a household name now too thanks to ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ his involvement only filled me further with confidence.
There was a fantastic sense of mystery running through the film right from the get go, the score contributed to this well and the way the first moments of the film play out. It’s not just the score which creates impact though as the sound itself was so impressive resulting in it being one of the most crucial elements for creating the chilling tension present for most of the film. The film was tense in a lot of different ways throughout the film, sometimes it was tension due to the unknown and others it was very much because of the known. Another reason for the success of this tension was the constant shift in tone that the film had, you could never quite settle as the film tries it’s best to lull you into a false sense of security.
The very small cast perform very well and are convincing at every turn. I don’t recall having ever seen John Gallagher, Jr. in anything before but I though he was good here. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who’s probably best know for the Die Hard movies and Scott Pilgrim, plays the lead role here, ‘Michelle’. She’s wonderful in her role and I imagine this performance will really give her career a boost. Her character is many things and she portrays them all very well. However the real standout performance has to be the one that John Goodman gave as ‘Howard’. At times his performance is very understated but in the blink of an eye that can all change and Goodman nailed this unpredictability so well. The chemistry that these three actors have is great and so vital for the films success given its enclosed setting. As a result the whole film is tense but the finale really goes from zero to a hundred in seconds easily making it nail-biting, exciting, suspenseful and even a little scary all at the same time.
(potential spoilers ahead)
My only issue I have with the film, which probably won’t bother others but really irritates me, is the title of the film. The name ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ automatically takes away from some of the mystery and intrigue that the film sets up and ultimately makes the reveal of the location have almost no impact, I had a similar gripe with ‘Spectre’ last year. However, even after further reading online I’ve found a quote from director Dan Trachtenberg stating that this film is not even set in the same universe that the original film is. If that is the case what is the point of the ‘Cloverfield’ connection, just to get audiences into the cinema? If so that’s a pretty underhanded decision. The film was originally titled ‘The Cellar’, I think I would have much preferred this title but even with this certain parts of the movie just don’t correlate with the comments of the director.
(potential spoilers over)
Even with the previously discussed flaw I still really enjoyed the film. Its cast all do a great job, the score and sound contributed brilliantly to the atmosphere and especially the tension of the film. With a finale which packs an almighty punch I’d find it hard to see why fans of good movies wouldn’t enjoy this one.
Rating – 9/10
Question: What’s your favourite ever John Goodman performance?
Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.