If you end up in an underground bunker after a car accident and the guy holding you down there tells you that a chemical attack has killed everyone above the ground, you should believe him but you should also not trust him. Spaced between various genres, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thrilling experience from start to finish, with surprises lurking around every corner, with brilliant performances by everyone in this minuscule cast.
Be aware of spoilers.
After seeing the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, I had no doubts about seeing this little horror- thriller at the cinema. So as soon as I had time, I confidently headed towards the theater expecting to exit just as confidently. And who would have thought, it turned out I was right, and the movie was exactly as great as I wished it to be, while adding a little surprise in the very end.
Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has just walked out on her fiancé, when she ends up in an accident after which she wakes up chained in a bunker with two guys. One of them, Howard (John Goodman), is the brains behind the bunker, and he also happens to have various theories about how the world supposedly ended. Emmett (John Gallagher Jr), being the other guy, had helped Howard build his doomsday hideout, and when things got bad, forced his way into the bunker himself. The relationship between all three is filled with distrust, tension and then, in some ways, understanding in the beginning but then everything is turned upside down.
At some point, 10 Cloverfield Lane shows us a possible way to live, without any drama, and all the residents in the bunker are doing their best to keep their spirits up. But distrust is something that makes Michelle act, and despite the fact that she witnesses a raging woman behind the bunker doors, works towards escaping the bunker. Then, as the secrets start to reveal themselves, and when something terrible happens to Emmett, the whole movie moves into its third act with all guns blazing.
But that is not the end, because 10 Cloverfield Lane manages to surprise the viewer by adding another interesting plot twist to the end – the fourth act, the alien invasion! Though the movie sort of hints at this through Howard, the ending is still a surprise, and especially to Michelle, who discovers that though Howard had lied, he had also told the truth – which is the crown jewel of twists in 10 Cloverfield Lane. That, and the brilliant performances by Goodman and Winstead, accompanied by Gallagher Jr.
That someone who thought that John Goodman, who always has been sweet and nice in my eyes, is perfect for the role as a crazy conspiracy man, deserves a medal! Goodman’s presence is so confusing throughout the movie, because he has this aura of a sweet guy, all while being creepy and weird at the same time. This adds to the whole experience, and his character becomes this weird mixture of good and evil, that it’s hard to believe the things he does in the third act.
Winstead is not as surprising, but she is just as great as Michelle, who by the way, is so badass! She is smart, clever and quick on her feet, she seems strong and despite her past, grows into herself through her experience in the bunker, and becomes the hero she was always meant to be. I like that she never gave up, she always pushed towards, and didn’t settle for the situation as most likely anyone else would have been glad to do. Winstead’s chemistry with her male companions was great as well, and she was just amazing to watch.
Finally, I want to say that visually, and in terms of the direction, 10 Cloverfield Lane was great! I liked how the majority of the movie focused on the bunker, and then it added a little bit of aliens to the mix, to transform it towards the sci-fi genre. The balance was off in a good way, and it might be my favorite alien movie ever, because it was mostly about Michelle surviving the bunker, than Michelle surviving the aliens. It showed a different alien attack survival story, it was unique and amazing, which is exactly what I needed.