Wednesday, May 18, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane [A Fat Jesus Quick Hit]

"Cloverfield," you know that 2008 found footage action horror film about a giant alien monster --that's not Godzilla-- rampaging around New York City? Well, I'm on the side that it was a pretty solid film. The monster was cool, the POV was done well and the overall feel was fun. Never did I think that a spin-off, or "spiritual successor" as the makers call this, like "10 Cloverfield Lane" would ever be born out of that film. But, here we are in 2016 and John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winestead and John Gallagher Jr. are apart of one of the best sci-fi thrillers of the first half of the year.

"10 Cloverfield Lane" follows the story of Michelle (Winestead). She leaves New Orleans and drives through rural Louisiana after a fight with her boyfriend. On the radio she hears about blackouts in major cities and when she gets a call from Ben (her boyfriend) she gets distracted and gets into an accident. Some time later she wakes up and she is chained to wall in a basement. Howard (Goodman) enters the room and informs Michelle that she was in an accident, that an unknown attack has taken place on earth and that she is in a bunker under his home. Michelle them meets Emmett (Gallagher Jr.) who saw the attacks and took shelter in Howard's bunker as well. Time begins to pass as the three start to "live" in the bunker, but tensions begin to rise as Michelle and Emmett start to think that Howard is hiding a big secret.

This is a film that builds tension very well. This isn't a horror, but there are times where things get pretty creepy. This is partially due to the great writing that the screenwriters gave to the actors. The story is great, the characters are engaging and realistic and the atmosphere is eerie from start to finish. Without giving much away, this is a sci-fi thriller set in a bunker after an attack on the US and possibly the earth. The three people begin to try and wait out the attacks, but things get hairy as dissension, uneasiness and distrust. This makes the mystery aspect thrive from start to finish. The other part is due to the fantastic acting by the three leads. John Gallagher Jr., as Emmet, was a great middle ground character. As I'll talk about soon, Winestead is almost pure good, while Goodman is that menacing evil throughout the film. The meek guy that seems kindhearted is a great compliment to both of the other leads. Winestead, as Michelle, is the post-Apocalypse innocence that the planet will inevitably need. She is a kind girl stuck in a wholly unfortunate situation. She sees the goodness in Emmett and she is always wary of everything Howard does. We see her go from silent "damsel in distress," to a leader that has what it takes to survive. Finally, we have a committed and outstanding performance from Goodman. The lurking evil, the hidden agenda, the secret past, the mysterious knowledge of everything going on. Howard is everything you expect a psychopath and Goodman embodies it. I mean come-on, no one can leave and he's had this bunker ready for years. I almost wanted a tinfoil hat in the background somewhere.

If you liked "Cloverfield" and are at all interested in a spin-off that may or may not be in the same world, then "10 Cloverfield Lane" is for you. Even if you aren't a fan of the "first" film, then this is a good enough psychological thriller to satisfy anyone's appetite. The story is solid, the atmosphere is ominous and the acting, especially by John Goodman, is committed and convincing. In the first part of 2016, it's probably the best thriller so far.

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