Thursday, August 11, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

   I'd like to thank the entire internet right now for not spoiling this movie for me. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thriller with a bag full of twists, turns, and plenty of good old fashioned tension. It's been a while since a movie made me squirm in my seat so badly, but 10 Cloverfield Lane did the trick. I was already down for this movie when I found out it starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead, beyond the fact she's a fantastic actress, I've had a crush on her since 2007's Live Free or Die Hard. I've been watching pretty much whatever she's been in ever since, for better (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and worse (The Thing). Thus, I'm a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't see 10 Cloverfield Lane a bit sooner.

   Lemme just say right now, the movie is not a sequel to Cloverfield. I did like that movie, and I would have liked a sequel to it just fine, but this movie really didn't need to be connected to it in any way shape or form. As it is, they are tenuously connected, but it's debatable whether or not they even take place in the same universe. Prequel theories have been shot down, and so have sequel theories. So who knows? Regardless, you don't need to have seen or even like Cloverfield in order to enjoy this movie. I digress, the premise of this story was more or less spoiled for me far in advance by a TV show called Metal Hurlant Chronicles. It's a sci-fi anthology show, and one of the segments was about a young woman who wakes up in a bunker with an older guy who claims she can't leave because the world above is decimated from nuclear warfare.

   Which... more or less is the initial concept driving 10 Cloverfield Lane. Except instead of being a low budget short, it's a big budget movie with a great three-person cast. The young woman is played by Winstead here, and she's pretty fantastic in the role. The older guy who may or may not be a delusional creep, is played by John Goodman. The third character is sort of small town everyman played by John Gallagher Jr. The three of them play well off of each other, and it's nothing short of impressive how they're able to shoulder this entire movie in such a singular setting without ever showing signs of wear. What's even more impressive is how many Hitchcockian twists, turns, and moments of raw tension are packed into this breezy little thriller.

   I strongly suggest you stop reading now and just go watch the movie. I feel like anything I say from this point on will be spoileristic to some degree or another. I'm not giving anything away directly, but the more you know about this movie- period -the less surprises it'll have in store for you. So please, if you're even a little bit interested, just go see it now. If you need further convincing... well... keep reading. The entire story isn't about whether or not Goodman's character is a liar, because at one point we do find out, with the end of the movie still quite a long ways off. In a lesser film, that would have been the climax, but 10 Cloverfield Lane keeps the twists and turns coming.

I loved how creative and original it was, and even though you can pretty easily guess what the twists are, the fact that you were right (or not) ends up being a fantastic payoff. Early on in the movie, the trio of characters discuss what might have happened above ground. Chemical warfare? Those darn commies? Nukes? Something we haven't seen before? Martians? Space worms? Who knows. It's a neat little mirror to the viewers, who'll undoubtedly be speculating among themselves as well. The movie toys with our expectations constantly, and even when you feel comfortable enough to un-tense and relax, the movie hits you with something new.

   In a cinematic age dominated by sequels and adaptations and destruction laden blockbusters, it's nice to see a movie that has some tricks up it's sleeve whilst remaining sleek, lean, and even somewhat understated. It's a movie that pays attention to the details, and invites you to do the same. I wish I could just prattle on about it for a while more, but I might let one of the surprises slip, and that'd be no good. So do yourself a favor and just rent it or something. Great cast, good story, fun surprises, and constant nerve shredding suspense and tension. Sounds like a blast, right? Well, all sarcasm aside, it really is. I loved it.

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