Announced less than two months ahead of its release, the super secretive 10 Cloverfield Lane – the “blood relative” of 2008’s found footage hit Cloverfield – is a real sneaky treat from producer J.J. Abrams. This not-so-sequel helmed by newbie director Dan Trachtenberg and starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr., is a twisty-turny claustrophobia-inducing thrill ride.
Alone, injured and hooked up to an IV drip, Michelle’s (Winstead) a little confused. It transpires, according to her boastful saviour Howard (Goodman), that she’s been involved in a road accident. Yet instead of a trip to the local A&E, he’s taken her to his underground bunker, ‘cos, you know, the world’s gone to shit.
Here begins an unlikely, highly charged – and extremely uncomfortable – bunker threesome, with fellow bunkee Emmett (Gallagher) completing this unlikely trio of end-of-world survivors. With no-way to find out exactly what’s happening on the outside, and suspicions growing in their not-so-cosy underground home, trust is non-existent.
Secrets, lies and a creep-tastic turn from John Goodman are the order of the day for this anti-hostage thriller. A far cry from Matt Reeves’ rampaging monster flick, its second cousin relies on an ever-growing sense of discomfort which transforms their doomsday-ready pad into a highly charged bubble of paranoia.
Whether it’s awkward dinner time conversations or Howard’s discomforting behaviour towards his new female bunkmate, the former army man challenges our perceptions: is the real enemy in the bunker, or back at ground level? Despite a somewhat slow start, the pace quickly turns up a notch and with several well-timed twists, including one left-field bombshell which turns the whole thing pretty darn sinister.
Neither emotionally deep nor a total mind-fuck, 10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t particularly original or break taking, but is disturbingly efficient. Well-paced and skilfully executed, Winstead, Gallagher Jr. and Goodman make an unconventional, yet, circumstantially well-balanced trio – with the latter in the form of his life.