Fifteen years ago, I lived in a world where the trailers that preceded a film were just as important as the film itself. They would introduce audiences to films a couple months before their release and could only be seen again at another screening. They were also a more exciting introduction to a film than the newspapers that only offered a poster and the showtimes for the films out that weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, the internet is a blessing most of the time. But I miss the growing excitement I felt when the theater darkened and began to glow green.
Two months ago, I felt that way again.
Without any announcement or hint, 10 Cloverfield Lane premiered its trailer before a film and showed just enough to keep me clueless and intrigued.
I’m happy to report that this movie is awesome.
Set in the same universe as the 2008 film Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane tells the story of Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), an aspiring clothing designer who wakes up to find herself trapped in an underground bunker. A man named Howard (John Goodman) informs her that the world outside is no longer inhabitable after an attack. Stuck in the bunker with the volatile Howard and a young man named Emmet (John Gallagher Jr.), Michelle must decide what to believe and if the bunker’s safety is truly worth the company.
The cast is terrific with John Goodman giving a chilling performance in a role unlike any other he has played. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has the unique ability to truly act as a vessel, letting the audience join her on this suspenseful chain of events. It is remarkable how she is able to express just enough for a filmgoer to understand what her character is thinking. John Gallagher Jr. may be the least memorable of this small cast but that has more to do with Winstead and Goodman’s powerful performances than his talent.
Together with its talented cast, the film’s ability to build and maintain suspense, even at its quietest moments, allows it to work as well as it does. 10 Cloverfield Lane will make audiences jolt, gasp, and laugh nervously at the aftermaths of several scenes. Only until the very end will audiences understand what type of story this film tells and the journey there is just as satisfying and entertaining. What type of story? The origin of a badass.
The fact that 10 Cloverfield Lane is Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut speaks volumes about his talent as a storyteller. Without his direction or Stefan Grube’s editing, the film could have easily lost itself in trying to be everything. There are a few scenes that feel a bit disjointed but the exposition in them was necessary for the film overall.
10 Cloverfield Lane is surprising. From the way it was marketed to the film itself, it will keep audiences guessing all throughout. The winner of my weekend at the movies, this is the best not-a-sequel sequel out there.
10 Cloverfield Lane was released on March 11, 2016.