Dan Trachtenberg's 10 Cloverfield Lane is a tight, well-crafted, well-acted thriller that is bound to disappoint those viewers going in seeking a similar monster movie experience to the first film. In fact, the connection between Cloverfield & 10 Cloverfield Lane is marginal at best, with the only real relationship between these two films being an extravagant marketing ploy to entice those familiar with the Cloverfield brand. The prologue of this story is centered around Michelle, a young woman, who is running from a troubled relationship. We aren't given any details into why exactly she is running, but we know she is unhappy, leaving the big city and her boyfriend behind for greener pastures. While fleeing, she gets into a serious car accident, awakening in a secluded, bomb shelter. Sustaining injuries from the crash, she is now in the care of Howard, the owner of the bomb shelter, who claims that the outside world is now affected by widespread chemical attack with the shelter he himself built being the only safe haven on earth. Of course, Michelle is reluctant to accept Howard's seemingly brazen story, assuming the worst about Howard's intentions. It isn't until an attempted escape that Michelle realizes Howard is telling the truth about the chemical attacks, when she witnesses, first-hand, the potency of the terror lurking above ground. Dan Trachtenberg's 10 Cloverfield Lane has more in common with films like Misery or even Room, being a psychological thriller about a character in Michelle who awakens in an unknown environment, unable to fully trust those who inhabit it. The audience takes on Michelle's perspective, and much of what works in 10 Cloverfield Lane is the mystery and suspense centered around the backstory of Howard as a character, a man who while telling the truth about the chemical attacks, seems to have perverse intentions related specifically to Michelle. Played by John Goodman, Howard is a character whose intentions are ambiguous for much of the film's running time, with the veteran actor bringing a great sense of instability to the role. Howard is a character with a calm overall demeanor but underneath this surface lies a lot of volatility and anger. While set in a somewhat supernatural setting, 10 Cloverfield Lane doesn't really deal with the supernatural, instead focusing on the darkness of man. The only true connection between Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfiled Lane is that they are both about "monsters", or should I say the many forms which can define "monsters:, with this effort focusing on nothing supernatural for most of its running time, just a truly terrifying character in Howard, a man who clearly is suffering from some form of psychosis, which is revealed slowly and methodically as the film progresses. Besides the ending, which feels incredibly superfluous to the rest of the film, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a tense, tight psychological horror film, thats narrative has enough twists and turns to keep the viewer engaged from start to finish - just don't expect another bombastic, monster movie or you are bound to be disappointed.
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