I was a big fan of the original Cloverfield, which was essentially Godzilla meets The Blair Witch Project.
There’s just something cool about watching a monster wreak havoc in a traditional world setting – and the Matt Reeves-directed original was one of my favourite films of that particular year.
Fast forward eight years and 10 Cloverfield Lane showed a lot more subtlety than its city-destroying predecessor.
Indeed, up until a few months ago, not too many people were aware of the existence of this JJ Abrams produced follow up, which is directed by Dan Trachtenberg on his feature debut.
But hold your horses. If, like me, you loved the original, you should be prepared for the fact that 10 Cloverfield Lane really isn’t a proper sequel.
I’m not sure what the party line is, but for me, it’s more of a spin-off set in the same world.
Gone is the found footage style and the focus on the rampaging kaiju. This time it’s all about suspense, doubt and paranoia – and it really delivers a totally different, yet equally satisfying, Cloverfield film.
Taking centre stage this time is Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead – A Good Day to Die Hard), a woman who has made the choice to leave her life and husband Ben (voiced by the unseen Bradley Cooper) behind.
While doing her best to dodge his spree of phone calls, her car is smashed off the road in a pretty horrifying way – and the next thing we know she wakes up handcuffed to a bed.
It turns out she’s been held in a Fallout-style bunker by the hulking Howard (John Goodman – Argo).
He explains to her that the world has come under “attack” and that the air outside his bunker is poisonous, meaning he essentially saved her life.
Down there with them is Howard’s neighbour Emmett (John Gallagher Jr – The Newsroom), who claims to have entered the bunker by his own free will having witnessed the said attack.
The sense of paranoia felt by Michelle echoes that of the audience at this stage, as she struggles to come to terms with what Howard – in a very definitive manner – is telling her.
How would you feel in that scenario? 10 Cloverfield Lane essentially hands you that question early on – and it’s your job to decide what is really going on.
Winstead does a great job as the lead and you’ll really find yourself immersed in her journey. For what appears to be her first central role on the big screen, she really nailed the performance.
Gallagher Jr is the more light-hearted of the three, but certainly shouldn’t be stereotyped as the comic relief. His chemistry with Winstead is one of the highlights of the film.
However, I did feel that this was the best performance from Goodman in recent memory. He’s menacing, unhinged and explosive at times, then calm and even gentle at others.
Simply put, he’ll give you the creeps… but you’ll still find yourself believing his story (at times).
That’s the beauty of 10 Cloverfield Lane. You’ll never know what is really going on and you’ll consider every option while watching.
The final third of the film builds up a real head of steam too, with the closing stages very much delivering a satisfying conclusion.
If you’ve not seen the first Cloverfield or even disliked it, you shouldn’t be put off by this new offering.
That’s because 10 Cloverfield Lane very much stands alone, but the knowledge you’ll have from seeing the original does feed your paranoia – and that makes for a really good cinematic experience.
Voice Verdict: 8.5/10 (reviewed at Boston’s West End Cinema)
+ Great performances from lead trio…
+ …especially Goodman
+ Very thought-provoking
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, March 25 to Thur, March 31)
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE 3D (12A)
1.30pm (daily), 8.15pm (daily)
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE 2D (12A)
10.15am (daily), 5pm (daily)
EDDIE THE EAGLE (PG)
3pm (Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs), 8.45pm (Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs)
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 (12A)
12.30pm (daily), 3pm (daily), 6pm (daily), 8.30pm (daily)
ZOOTROPOLIS 3D (PG)
12.30pm (daily), 5.30pm (daily)
ZOOTROPOLIS 2D (PG)
10am (daily), 2.45pm (daily)
CAPTURE THE FLAG 2D (PG)
KUNG FU PANDA 3 2D
10am (daily), Noon (not Wed), 2.15pm (daily), 4.30pm (daily)
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (12A)
6pm (not Thurs), 8.30pm (daily)
THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT (12A)
12.20pm (not Sat), 3pm (Fri/Sat/Sun)
THE BOY (15)
6.40pm (daily), 8.50pm (Fri/Sat/Sun)
LONDON HAS FALLEN (15)
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROADCHIP (U)
10am (not Wed)
Fri (10.15am) – Capture The Flag 2D (PG)
Wed (11.30am) – Allegiant (12A)