10 Cloverfield Lane (12A) | Close-Up Film Review


Dir. Dan Trachtenberg, US, 2016, Dur 103 mins

Cast:  Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr.,

Apart from one oblique reference towards the end, this taut psychological thriller bears no relation to the 2008 found footage monster movie “Cloverfield”.  And it’s a helluva lot better film.

Michelle (Winstead) is involved in a car accident.   When she wakes up, she finds herself apparently imprisoned in an underground bunker.   Her instinct is to try to escape but her jailor Howard (Goodman) explains that he has not imprisoned her but on the contrary has rescued her from certain death.  The world has been subjected to an attack, nuclear or alien he is not sure, and the earth’s atmosphere is poisoned.

The bunker, which Howard has built himself against such an eventuality, is a well appointed little gaff with most mod cons from cooking and toilet facilities to sofas, canned food and a plentiful supply of videos and DVDs to pass the time.  Also sharing their accommodation is the none too bright but perfectly amiable Emmett (Gallaghar).   The question is though is Howard telling the truth or is he keeping Michelle imprisoned for a more sinister purpose?  And if so, what is it?

Winstead makes a ballsy, impulsive and resourceful heroine, though you might be inclined to question the character’s psychological strategy at times, while the normally amiable Goodman is something of a revelation in a role very different from his usual more bluff persona.   Irritable, unpredictable, with a tendency to explode into rage, he is both scary and sinister while sometimes slightly sad.

The story is inventively plotted, there are plenty of jump out of your seat moments and some unexpected humour at times. The ending is arguably somewhat out of key with the very effective claustrophobic atmosphere of the main body of the film but it is still very spectacular and edge of the seat.

For those who like this sort of thing, this is one film they will very much like.

Review by Carol Allen