Movie Reviews

Published on March 14th, 2016 | by Daniel Anderson


MOVIE REVIEW 10 Cloverfield Lane

Let’s be clear, this isn’t a Cloverfield film.

While that name may be there in the title and J.J. Abrams has been shouting the words ‘spiritual successor’ the truth is this new feature was developed from a script called The Cellar and rejigged to make the connection after issues at Paramount’s Insurge Pictures.

There are a whole mess of reasons why this doesn’t really qualify as a Cloverfield film, many of which are outright spoilers but the most glaring of which is that it’s clearly set in a different year. Happily that doesn’t really matter as it’s a lot of fun on its own.

The basic plot sees a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) trapped in a place with a man who is telling her lots of crazy things. Revealing more would be taking away from a number of twists and turns and you would also be best off to avoid the trailers if possible.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 12.04.42 PM

First time feature director Dan Trachtenberg keeps things ticking along nicely, building up the world and some pleasantly paced tension in the opening half and delivering on that promise as the finale approaches.

This is a small and intimate film with a tiny cast, mostly shot in a single location. It’s the very definition of a picture which is designed to be cheap to make with the potential to earn big, and the box office receipts since its US release have pretty much borne that out.

The cast is mostly strong – Winstead does what is expected with a minimum of fuss but can’t quite nail the more complex emotions and supporting player John Gallagher, Jr is pretty much forgettable. That leaves plenty of room for John Goodman to steal the show as Howard. The script toes the line between painting him as crazy and concerned, and his cherubic features mixed with that massive frame helps him make instant transitions between passive and something sinister.


If you buy into the thrills and the slow reveals of the story there’s a lot of fun to be had with 10 Cloverfield Lane and once you’re on board the ending is pretty fitting and even stirring stuff. All told, it feels like an above average episode of The Outer Limits, and I mean that as a definite compliment.

Don’t be surprised to see the Cloverfield name pop up again in the future, and also don’t be surprised if the connection is sketchy at best.

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About the Author

Daniel's favourite film is Die Hard. This is pretty much all you need to know about him. He's seen a few more movies since 1988 but none have the same perfect combination of Christmas and killing...

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