10 Cloverfield Lane review

The free eternal fear that exists within everyone, the fear of the apocalypse, the fear of losing everyone you love—these things are extremely difficult for movies to capture effectively. Most movies portray a post-apocalyptic attack and fallout with bands of surviving humans turning into savages and racing around a scorched earth. However, 10 Cloverfield Lane is not like other apocalyptic movies, because it chooses to have its entire story revolve in and around a bunker. By containing its story, 10 Cloverfield Lane is 105 minutes of pure, edge-of-your-seat tension.

10 Cloverfield Lane is the story of a woman named Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as she gets into a car accident and wakes up trapped in a underground bunker with two men. Howard, played by John Goodman, tells her that a chemical attack has decimated the outside world, making the air unbreathable and toxic to all human life. Howard, having created the bunker with the help of Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr., the other man trapped within the bunker, believes the only hope of survival is to remain inside. Despite the comforts of home, Howard’s threatening, shady and menacing nature makes Michelle question whether she was saved, or kidnapped; as well as the state of the outside world.

Director Dan Trachtenberg masterfully made every scene in the bunker extremely suspenseful and had the audience on the edge of their seats, an impressive accomplishment given this is Trachtenberg’s first big budget film. Trachtenberg had the benefit of  Goodman’s amazing performance. His portrayal of Howard as a large, menacing and aggressive person, who also has moments of kindness makes every scene full of tension.

Goodman’s portrayal of this deep character makes the audience constantly question whether he is good, and actually saved Michelle, or if he is mentally insane. Even in the scenes where Goodman is not speaking, his large presences can be felt wandering in the background. Winstead and Gallagher Jr. also had great performances, however, they are overshadowed by Goodman. Both manage to capture the fear and anxiety of the situation, and playing off Goodman’s gripping performance, to deliver their own impressive performances.

10 Cloverfield Lane is an amazing movie up until the last 10 minutes. The ending takes a turn to involve more action and scary characters, however, it proves less suspenseful and enjoyable then the every scene leading up to it. It seemed like the ending was just thrown in last minute to give the film a sci-fi feel. Unfortunately, this movie should have just ended 10 minutes sooner and leave the audience with a cliffhanger and let them imagine what the ending should have been. There were so many options the film could have chosen to do with the last 10 minutes, but the ending it chose was unnessarily otherworldly.

Overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a amazingly suspenseful film which manages to make the audience feel claustrophobic by taking place in a small, confined bunker. Goodman gives an amazing performance, giving his character layers upon layers of development. Goodman is the heart and soul of the film, and his performance makes up for the unnecessary ending and any other flaw this film had.

The Parkway West Pathfinder give 10 Cloverfield Lane: 7/10