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10 Cloverfield Lane review



Grade: B-

I have a difficult relationship with the Cloverfield movies. The first movie, about a gigantic monster attacking New York, is something that I think was practically designed to appeal to me but didn’t. I think what hurt that movie the most was all its plot-holes as well as the idea that a character in the movie would film everything that was happening regardless of the consiquences — even to the point where they were about to die. That being said the latest 10 Cloverfield Lane is a better movie than the first Cloverfield, but not by much.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANEKind’a Signs meets Silence of the Lambs, in 10 Cloverfield Lane the character of Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is in a car accident and awakens in a bunker built by Howard (John Goodman) where she also finds Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) who tells her that the end of the world has come and everyone outside of the bunker is dead. Michelle has a hard time buying this from Howard since he’s a grade-a weirdo, but when Michelle does get a glimpse of the outside world and all the horrors that entails she decides that maybe staying in the bunker with normal and nice Emmett and odd and crazy Howard might not be such a bad idea after all.

Much like with Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane has its share of plot-holes from a room that controls air filtration that’s cut off from the rest of the bunker and is only accessible via crawling through airshafts (!?) to Emmett and Michelle being able to hide things from Howard in a relatively small bunker. But for whatever reason I don’t think these holes hurt 10 Cloverfield Lane as much as they did in Cloverfield. I think that’s mostly because since Cloverfield was shot in the first person fauxcumentary style and 10 Cloverfield traditionally it made it seem less like the characters were doing things to get the best shot and more like they were behaving somewhat in their own self interest.

I think what hurts 10 Cloverfield Lane the most is that there’s really no mystery with the characters at all. Michelle starts off as a strong woman who’s leaving her boyfriend for one reason or another and ends the movie the same way. Emmett starts off nice and sweet and innocent and ends the movie the same way. Howard starts off as the obvious villain in that he acts so odd and weird and ends the movie the same way.

I think if it weren’t so obvious as to who the characters really were in 10 Cloverfield Lane and what their intentions were right from the start this would have been a much better movie. With the film only really having three characters in it I think we really need to be kept guessing as to who is who and what everyone’s intentions really are. Otherwise there’s no puzzle and when we finally see what’s happening on the outside I think any investment the audience has in the characters of 10 Cloverfield Lane is long gone.