Claustrophobic Thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane Thoroughly Impresses

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Max Asselmeier, Columnist

10 Cloverfield Lane is a psychological thriller film directed by Dan Trachtenberg, and it features Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman,  and John Gallagher Jr. The movie follows Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) after a life-threatening accident, and she wakes to find herself in the custody of Howard Stambler (John Goodman) in his doomsday bunker. Howard informs Michelle as well as Emmett (John Gallagher Jr), who fled to Howard’s bunker, about an apocalyptic event that supposedly occurred, and the film chronicles Emmett and Michelle as they endeavor to find the truth about what happened.

The surprisingly small cast gave an outstanding performance, and one actor that especially stood out was John Goodman. His character’s nuances in dialogue and body language culminated in an impressively unsettling display of acting prowess. In 10 Cloverfield Lane, Goodman proved that he could handle an enigmatic role, and he took Howard’s character and created a haunting, unstable persona. Goodman perfectly set the eerie tone of the film and allowed the other actors to feed off of the atmosphere of the movie.

A refreshingly uncommon aspect in 10 Cloverfield Lane was the relatability of the main character. Michelle is in an uncommon situation, yet her actions rarely show a lapse in intelligence, an unfortunately common occurrence in many thrillers today. Michelle acts with courage and caution in a way that is able to propel the plot forward, rather than rely on unrealistically foolish choices that would have the audience laughing at the character.

10 Cloverfield Lane was aided heavily by the obscurity of the plot, and the movie did a great job of guiding the viewer’s beliefs on what was the truth. Each scene presented the audience with new evidence that brought the character’s true intentions into question. The film keeps the viewers on their toes as it generates multiple types of misdirection, and the audience is left in suspicion all the way up until the very end of the movie. Trachtenberg does a great job of holding the truth from the viewers until the climax of the film in order to create a wildly unexpected end to a very suspenseful film.

Many people have been theorizing that 10 Cloverfield Lane is connected to Cloverfield, another movie by Bad Robot Productions from 2008. Producer J.J. Abrams called 10 Cloverfield Lane a “a blood relative” to Cloverfield, a claim supported by the marketing campaign for both of the movies. Cloverfield was highly anticipated at its release in 2008, due mostly to its intriguing viral marketing prior to release. MySpace accounts were created for the film’s characters, alongside trailers that piqued the interest of audiences while supplying limited information in order to fascinate viewers.

10 Cloverfield Lane received fairly high reviews with a 7.7/10 from IMDb, 89% from Rotten Tomatoes, and a 76% Metacritic. 10 Cloverfield Lane also made a large profit with a budget of only $15 million, but an eventual worldwide total of $81.8 million.

Overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane delivered a memorable experience despite its small cast and limited advertising before release. The lead actors made a terrific use of their cramped set, adding to the constantly building tension throughout the movie. With no dull moments, the film gave audiences few opportunities to adjust to the ever changing atmosphere in a terrific continuation of the Cloverfield franchise.