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10 Cloverfield Lane Review:
My Rating System
The first Cloverfield played on the fact that mockumentary style movies were still things to like. Did it work for a monster movie with a lot of action? Not quite. However, the movie itself was quite terrifying and played off the mystery of the monster aspect. The mystery behind the monster is what gives a perfect eerie feeling of abandonment/closed off from everything. You (the audience) are cut off from everything, while a monster kills the entire population of New York. This aspect of the shaky camera enhanced that abandonment feeling because the only thing we could see was the POV of the characters involved within the movie. The characters themselves could only see what was right in front of them. The audience was trapped inside the little frame of their view. Though this was also annoying, as nothing in the movie was ever explained and nothing was ever looked upon anything further than what the characters in the movie knew. Also, the camera would consistency not show much of the movies, as it was always bouncing up and down.
However, the overall movie of Cloverfield should be placed on a higher scale now, because the sequel helps give some light to the mystery of the series. The series is still cloaked in the right kind of mystery, but the sequel gives enough information to spike interest in further sequels.
10 Cloverfield Lane isn't really a sequel to its predecessor but more of a spin-off. The timeline to Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane isn't ever disclosed and the events of the original aren't ever acknowledged. The setting is a rural town right out side of Houston, with Michelle (played Mary Winstead) trying to escape her life. She is all of sudden evolved in a car crash and wakes up in a bomb shelter with a very unstable Howard (played by Josh Goodman). Howard keeps feeding this information of an attack that occurred on US soil and that the outside air is polluted. Michelle, not believing a word that Howard says, tries to escape only to find out that Howard was correct. However, there's something that doesn't quite add up and Howard is progressively getting crazier and crazier by the minute.
10 Cloverfield Lane does a excellent job of keeping your mind locked into the idea that Michelle is trapped in this bomb shelter and their is no hope for them. Like the first movie, there's a sense of abandonment and that the characters are cut off from the outside world. No radio chatter, no one is out looking for them, and there seems to be no hope. Though the situation inside the bunker is getting worse and worse, with clues that lead Michelle to believe that Howard isn't who he says he is. Or at least he's a monster living among them.
Majority of the movie is played out in the bunker and those who saw the first one will know what the actual outside really is. Though somethings about the outside are different than one might think. There's something lurking in the night and you feel like you're trapped with the characters. The claustrophobic nature of the bunker is shown perfectly and the character are conflicted on whether to stay or to go. Though will Howard let them go? This sense of confinement heightens the thrill and suspense of the movie. There's a inkling they should try and flee for their lives before something truly bad happens to them.
10 Cloverfield Lane also gives us some closure of where the monster is from. There's still mystery and that mystery helps ramp up those suspenseful/thriller moments in the film. It always plays on the fear that their isn't any hope anywhere to be found. That's what made Josh Goodman so powerful in the film. He dominates over them because he's helping them get shelter from the outside world. Goodman really excels this notion with his powerful performance that easily steels this movie. The other actors are great as well, but Goodman really makes it see like they won't ever feel safe again. The ending is what truly wraps up the film perfectly and turns a what seems like a happy ending into a eerie beginning of not knowing. The series so far has banked on the idea that the world outside can't be controlled. The world inside the bunker also can't be controlled. Every little "uprising" in the film is swiftly killed by Howard and Howard is the sole dictator of his domain. Once the main character is able to escape and hope is just on the horizon,the rug pulled from beneath her. The world is worse than what Howard feared. For the time being, all hope is lost and there's nowhere to run. The that last finale shot does show a slight rebellion too, that Michelle isn't just going to lay down to die.
Overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is exactly what I wanted from a Cloverfield spin-off. It doesn't rely on the other movie to be entertaining and is actual a lot better than its predecessor. Though I would recommend on seeing the original as it evolves some of the concepts that audiences without seeing the original, would get a little confused. This is especially true in the last act of the movie, as it really will confuse those not familiar with the original plot.
I would recommend anyone, who liked the first one, to go see it. Also, those people who love any apocalyptic movies or a close encounters movies with the bunker scene. It's a very effective movie that knows that better sometimes comes in smaller portions.