10 Cloverfield Lane follows a young woman who is seemingly escaping an abusive relationship when she is involved in a car accident. When she awakes, she finds herself within an elaborate bunker and her captor and self-proclaimed savior claims there is an apocalyptic scenario happening on the surface. The young woman must decide whether to trust the unusual stranger or try to escape.
10 Cloverfield Lane Review
Setting the scene: We meet Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. We see her grab a few things (including a bottle of alcohol, which comes into play later) before exiting her apartment, leaving her engagement ring behind. As she’s driving away she gets phone calls from her fiance, voiced by a very monotone cameo by Bradley Cooper. And whoosh! Big car crash! Her car flips and falls down a hill. At this point I’m eager for some real excitement and horror to begin.
Michelle wakes up in a windowless, concrete-walled room, where she’s being held safely by John Goodman, an ex-Navy doomsday prepper. He, and another man Emmett who is sheltering with John Goodman, states she can’t go back out because everyone is already dead and some unseen dangerous force is to blame. Other than the bland setup, we’re finally getting into some excitement. The original Cloverfield was a monster movie right?
Later, John Goodman sends Michelle through an air vent to turn a filter back on. She sees blood-streaked scratches of the word HELP on the inside of a cellar window. It’s at this point Michelle and Emmett hatch a plan to escape. They create a makeshift hazmat suit with household items secretly squirreled away.
But John Goodman catches them. And John Goodman has a bad temper. He shoots Emmett and melts him with industrial-grade acid for “betraying” him. More like John Badman... And now he’s clean-shaven... he finally has Michelle all to himself. Yes, this is a monster movie, if John Badman is the real monster.
But eventually Michelle makes it out! The bunker explodes!
But the final fifteen minutes the whole movie takes a different turn. We see aliens have finally taken over and they’re gassing the planet. However that’s quickly wrapped up with Michelle tossing a nice juicy molotov cocktail with that very same bottle of whisky we saw earlier into the gaping maw of a giant alien. As Michelle drives away, she hears a woman on the radio hailing for assistance at hospitals, and makes a sharp turn to Houston, Texas where we presume she helps other survivors.
Why can’t horror movies be horrific? Why spend the first 90% of a movie developing a slow-burn psychological thriller and give it a hard shove into mediocre sci-fi “horror”? (And I checked! This movie is considered a horror!)
Good movie: It was until it wasn’t. Scary movie: Nope. First half was good suspense, second half was out of place and forced with a tepid resolution and half-hearted heroism.