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“10 Cloverfield Lane” Is a Tension Filled Ride

Photo by Gage Skidmore

In today’s technology-filled world, very little in the entertainment industry has stayed secret. Casting decisions, budgets and even entire plots of movies and television shows have been discovered mere hours or days before being screened. Heck, someone even got sued by Disney for flying a drone over the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to take pictures of the Millennium Falcon.

With the Internet’s spoiler and theory-making lifestyle, it makes the surprise reveal of “10 Cloverfield Lane” all the more amazing. With a mysterious trailer dropped in front of Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” and a release date no more than two months away, many expected the worst from the latest in J.J. Abram’s new franchise. However, much like its surprise reveal “10 Cloverfield Lane” managed to surpass almost all expectations, delivering a fantastic edge-of-your-seat thriller.

The plot picks up with Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) packing up and leaving her house after an argument with her fiancé, but being caught in a brutal car wreck along the way which leaves her unconscious. Waking up mere hours later chained to a wall in a windowless fallout shelter, she meets the other residents — conspiracy nut Howard (John Goodman), and good-natured redneck Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) — and discovers a harsh truth: the world outside is no longer hospitable to any biological life.

To tell any more of the plot would be a major disservice to anyone who hasn’t seen it, as the film works best with as little knowledge of the story as possible. None of the characters in “10 Cloverfield Lane” have any idea what’s happening, so why spoil it for yourself? That being said, don’t go into the movie expecting a sequel to the original “Cloverfield” movie, as this one, while sharing some of the same themes, is connected to the previous film by name only.

The direction of the film is absolutely fantastic, completely giving the viewer the claustrophobic feeling of living in the bunker, so much so that anyone who had watched the movie could be intimately familiar with the location if they visited the set.

This cramped feeling also translates very well to the various encounters between the characters, with their paranoia and distrust of the other residents keeping me on the edge of my seat for almost the entire runtime. Much praise should also be given to the actors, with Winstead perfectly portraying the quieter but smarter-than-she-looks Michelle, and Gallagher providing some much needed comedic relief. However, Jon Goodman easily steals the show here, simultaneously being benevolent but extremely disturbing at the same time. While not quite Oscar-worthy, this is definitely one of Goodman’s top three roles out of his entire career.

While the rest of the movie is fantastic, the ending itself isn’t, and will no doubt prove to be a tad bit controversial to those leaving the movie theater afterwards. While I will abide by my no-spoiler talk, I will say that the last fifteen minutes came completely out of left field and didn’t make much sense tonally in context with the rest of the movie.

Sour ending aside, “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a fantastic and tense time at the theaters, with amazing direction as well as acting. With “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” coming up soon, make sure not to forget this smaller gem that will no doubt keep you thinking long after you leave the theater.

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