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REVIEW: ‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ is a suspenseful thriller

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Photo: movieweb.com

The 2008 film Cloverfield followed a bunch of friends in Manhattan trying to survive a mysterious attack on the city. After the success of the film, the producers (which includes Star Wars director, co-writer and producer J.J. Abrams) took an interesting approach in creating a Cloverfield franchise with 10 Cloverfield Lane, a spiritual successor to the original film. This film follows the exploits of Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead- A Good Day to Die Hard) who finds herself getting rescued by Howard (John Goodman) after getting into a car accident.

Of course, there’s a catch: Michelle wakes up and finds herself locked in a doomsday bunker Howard has built. Over time, Howard shares the story of how he, and his acquaintance Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) came to live underground. Howard spins a compelling tale, but Michelle is resourceful, and tries to figure out if she’s trapped with a madman, or an eccentric do-gooder. The film follows Michelle’s journey to discover what’s really happening and if she will ever leave.

10 Cloverfield Lane could have been a cheesy movie, but the filmmakers brought in A-list talent, including Goodman, whose performance is fantastic. At 6’2, Goodman is an intimidating presence, alternating between sad sack and neurotic while changing moods in a flash. Winstead is excellent. in addition to handling the physical aspects effortlessly, her eyes reveal more than words allow as she monitors and adapts to Howard’s behavior. Lastly, Tony Award-winner Gallagher brings sensitivity and humor to his role as Emmett.

This is a rare film that doesn’t rely on non-stop dialogue, as director Dan Trachtenberg modulates the pace, starting this off with a bang, and then letting things quietly simmer before bubbling over. There is a Hitchcockian claustrophobia to the bunker scenes.

10 Cloverfield Lane touches upon the choices that people regret, and how they choose to live today. Bring a friend, and enjoy figuring out what connection may be to its predecessor.  

The film is PG-13, for some violence and gore. 

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com 

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Photo: movieweb.com