So it turns out that Cloverfield is a franchise now. When the trailer for this film was first released, everyone in the world (well… the internet) reacted the same way: “When did this become a thing?”. It’s rare that a major wide release like this can remain a secret until only a few months before release, and it’s certainly worked in the favour of this film. Much like it’s predecessor, the unique marketing campaign has got people talking, and has increased interest, although judging by the US box office that interest may not translate to ticket sales.
10 Cloverfield Lane sees Howard (John Goodman), Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) living in a bunker together after some sort of horrible event has supposedly taken place, and while we don’t know exactly why or what happened, the one thing we do know is that things may not be safe inside the bunker either. This is a very vague and not 100% accurate description of the plot, but that’s what worked so well about this film’s marketing – we really don’t know anything about it.
This lack of any real plot details definitely helps this experience, and that’s exactly what I would call watching 10 Cloverfield Lane – an experience. Even though he didn’t direct this film, you can definitely feel J.J. Abrams fingerprints on every aspect of this movie. I feel like nobody can quite build intrigue and genuine mystery the way some of his projects have done in the past, and this has all of the hallmarks of not only the first Cloverfield, but the TV series that really made him famous – Lost.
This film has a never-ending series twists and turns, and it slowly feeds you information at a pace that has you desperate for more, and then makes you question everything you think you know. Some credit also has to go to Dan Trachtenberg (this is unbelievably his first full length feature film!), who not only handled this mystery with incredible skill, but also managed to make the bunker setting that makes up 90% of the film be many things. At times it’s scary and claustrophobic, and at times it’s homely and even seems like a nice place to be. I would also like mention all three of the main actors, who each did a fantastic job, and the composer Bear McCreary, who created a fantastic old-fashioned score, and brilliantly mixed in modern elements.
I don’t want to talk about this film too much, because the less you know going in, the better, but one thing I will address is the biggest question most people will have going in – how this film is linked to the first Cloverfield. If you want this to remain a surprise, please skip the rest of this paragraph! J.J. Abrams is on record as saying that this isn’t a direct sequel, but instead is a ‘blood relative’, and that’s a good way to describe it. If you want to believe that it’s set in the same world or during the same time period, there is enough there to make the connection, but if you want to believe it’s more like The Twilight Zone, or a collection of unrelated stories that share a similar theme, then you can look at it that way too.
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