10 Cloverfield Lane Review

12 Mar

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 1.44.19 PM

Midway through 10 Cloverfield Lane, John Goodman’s Howard starts dancing along to music blaring from a jukebox, breaking the tension just enough to entertain you but not enough to take you out of the moment; in fact, it further envelops you in its grasp. Every humorous moment in this movie works in a similar manner, drawing on comedy to reveal even more sinister layers underneath. Throughout, the writers and actors have a rock solid handle on these shifts in tone, mood, character, and genre, and what results are genuinely unnerving and unexpected moments that add beautifully to the overall experience. Plot twists weave in and out of motivations and backstories with remarkably few hiccups, and the writers–featuring new Tension Master Damien Chazelle–demonstrate a knack for building a very specific atmosphere.

Key aspects of that atmosphere-building also include the impeccable sound design, the chilling Bear McCreary score, the brilliant acting–seriously fantastic across the board–and the Trachtenberg-Cutter camera work. The shooting style for 10 Cloverfield Lane is more steady than the original, using a small space to convey intimacy and uncertainty while also aggressively hinting at something larger outside. When all hell breaks loose near the end–in perhaps the most unsurprising development of the movie, given its title–it still feels like a very controlled madness that develops organically from the setup. I don’t think it’s as impactful as what precedes it, but it’s appropriate not only in the context of the Cloverfield name, but also in the context of the plot. It’s unabashed and entertaining and really quite silly, but it’s also just so damn fun.




-The bunker itself is utilized extremely well, and I feel like the outside world is better handled from indoors. Nevertheless, I love the resolution for its idea more so than for its execution (still not weak enough to detract from how much I liked the first 75-80%). Howard’s a crazy guy who also happens to be right all along, and it’s a nice way to conclude this particular story because it plays with our expectations of him being either one or the other. I also really like Michelle’s reaction to seeing the alien. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is wonderful in this movie.

-Emmett….I did not see that coming at all.

-That “little woman”/”little princess” scene is John Goodman’s best moment in the movie, and he has a hell of a lot of great scenes. It’s a funny moment, but funny in an extremely chilling manner. One of the most well constructed scenes of the film.

-Very well done moment: the opening credits intercut with the crash.

Photo credits: Bad Robot, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Paramount

13 Responses to “10 Cloverfield Lane Review”

  1. peggyatthemovies March 12, 2016 at 2:02 am #

    Did you read my part of my review where I said “And any reviewer that gives away the spoilers or the full story of this one, I wish them years of paper cuts because this is one to be experienced, not told about” – that is YOU!! uurrrrggghhhh!!! ha!
    Loved the movie.. simply put..it scared the bejesus out of me in all the right ways.. 🙂

    • polarbears16 March 12, 2016 at 2:08 am #

      At least I put a spoiler notice first! I think spoiler sections are great to include at the end for people who’ve seen the film. 🙂

  2. peggyatthemovies March 12, 2016 at 2:15 am #

    no no no no no… Paper cuts to you my dear.. paper cuts in abundance!! ha!

  3. peggyatthemovies March 12, 2016 at 2:19 am #

    It’s like when Roger Ebert gave away the ending to The Crying Game.. I remember this so well because it was when I first really followed them as a teen.. and Gene Siskel went OFF on him.. and he was right..you NEVER give away the spoiler like that..as with most that will read it I didn’t even catch the line that said ‘spoiler’ – until its way to late..

    • polarbears16 March 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

      Understandable! I added another warning line there to deter people from looking further if they haven’t seen the film.

      Overall though I do think spoiler spaces in reviews can add deeper analysis; I did that a lot more in the past with spoiler spaces–idk if you remember– and most recently I believe with “The Gift” because I like delving into movies that hinge on endings. I’d say a good amount of people who read my reviews have watched the films, so I like having a specific portion of certain reviews to be dedicated to them (e.g. a TV review, which is full of spoilers and deeper analysis). However, I’ll make sure to mark them clearer moving forward if I want to throw in a spoiler space.

    • polarbears16 March 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

      For example how does one truly talk about, say, Gone Girl without talking about the big twist? As a reviewer I want to give my assessment of the film sans spoilers, but as a film lover I also want to dive deeper in a certain section afterward. 🙂

      • peggyatthemovies March 14, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

        really easily actually.. I did it.. Analysis ..schmalaysis… there is no reason to ever give up a spoiler and possibly ruin a good film or TV show for others.. Btw..side – note.. Roger Ebert apologized the following week on the show to Gene & to the audience for ruining a film. #justsayin

      • polarbears16 March 15, 2016 at 1:15 am #

        So did I! But then I decided to go further after the initial review to cover the full extent of the film, and people here seemed to enjoy it. I think film deserves the same amount of deep consideration as TV episodes, and I will stand by the notion that spoiler spaces/discussion sections allow for appreciating the film more so than a spoiler free/don’t see or see this review does. For example, one can mention a certain theme or character arc, but mentioning specific scenes to back up those ideas makes it more interesting to read…obviously don’t include it in the main body of the review, but later on with a warning I’d say is okay.

        I will agree though that what Roger did was pretty ehh, considering he did it in front of a audience that couldn’t avoid it. Apologies for not making it clearer that spoilers would follow in my review. Thanks for the thoughts!

      • peggyatthemovies March 15, 2016 at 1:39 am #

        I agree.. one can mention certain themes & character arcs.. and to go in-depth is always good…without giving it all away. I think the majority of people I’ve seen on social media have all agreed it’s best not knowing to much going into this one as it makes it all the more exciting & thrilling. Bottom line.. it was a good watch and I’m glad I got to see it unfold the way I did. Scared the bejesus out of me.

      • polarbears16 March 15, 2016 at 1:56 am #

        Yes definitely a special case with this one, no arguments from me there. Cloverfield is definitely all about the mystery, as the marketing made clear. Really enjoyed it as well.

  4. Mark V. March 20, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

    This is the film I’m looking forward to most next month.

  5. Sara July 27, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    The Santa scene chilled me to the bones. It was an incredible show of talent. He made me feel such anxiety that I felt I was in the movie myself caught in the act of deceit. It has become my favorite scene from a phycological thriller. This movie I’d the best horror/thriller I have seen in years mostly because of John Goodman’s amazing performance.


  1. The Top 30 Films of 2016 | Polar Bears Watch TV - February 25, 2017

    […] 10. 10 Cloverfield Lane – In a year of the “claustrophobic thriller”, this is one of the best. […]

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