Reviewing this film is a little tricky, as the less you know about 10 Cloverfield Lane the better. Supposedly sharing some kind of link to the Matt Reeves/JJ Abrams produced found footage monster movie Cloverfield, this is actually a very different beast. It’s not a found footage film for one thing, but it is a refreshingly taut piece of cinematic suspense.
After a car crash, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) awakens to find herself effectively a prisoner in the well-stocked survival bunker of Howard (John Goodman), who claims there has been an “attack” on the surface, and that he has saved her life. He will not let her return to the surface due to the contaminated air, but she doesn’t believe there has been an attack, even when confronted with additional testimony by another person sharing the bunker called Emmett (John Gallagher Jr).
To say anymore would spoil the twists and turns of this hugely effective genre piece, which plays with audience expectations and maintains a very good guessing game. Dan Trachtenberg helms the piece well, delivering some claustrophobic set pieces. Performances are all decent, and the sound design and music (Bear McCreary) enhance the tension very well.
In short, 10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t going to change the course of cinema, but it is a fine piece of work, much better than expected. In fact, even though I still can’t quite figure out the link to Cloverfield, I much preferred this.