Room – ★★★★
One of the more enjoyable things about seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane was the fact that I’d somehow managed to get in there without knowing a whole lot about the film, this was the intention of J.J. Abrams and the studio, having only formally announced it to the world in January with a surprise trailer announcement. Throw in the fact I’ve forgotten most of the plot details of the original Cloverfield (which was apparently 8 years ago) and you get that wonderful scenario of open-minded,optimistic expectation.
The film’s basic plot is a simple one. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is driving away from her home and crashes her car. Girl then wakes up, in chains, in some sort of underground bunker and we’re introduced to two other questionable characters – John Goodman as Howard and John Gallagher, Jr. as Emmett who are spouting something about nuclear war, aliens and the end of the world.
10 Cloverfield Lane was originally titled The Cellar and it is being billed as more of a “blood relative” to the original Cloverfield. In this day and age of TV series like Fargo and American Horror Story, audiences seem content to embrace work made in the same world as their predecessors, even if they bear little to no narrative connection. This film is infinitely more self-contained as a horror-thriller, and you could even make arguments that it is at its very best before any final act action pay-off occurs.
Winstead is excellent at playing a wonderfully resourceful protagonist, but the star of the show is undoubtedly John Goodman who is having an absolute whale of a time as the creepy, sinister, doomsday prepper. The script (with credits for Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Whiplash director Damien Chazelle) has a lot of fun swinging the pendulum of uncertainty and suspicion, as the audience’s belief in what Goodman’s Howard is saying is continuously spun around.
As a film-going experience 10 Cloverfield Lane is one of the most fun experiences you could hope for over a long holiday weekend and it’s a credit to first-time director Dan Trachtenberg that all the pieces join up so well.
Released in Irish cinemas on March 18th 2016