April 6, 2016

Theatrical Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

"Hopefully this is the first of many movies set in the Cloverfield Universe."

(aka Escape From The Creepy Basement.)
Release Date: March 11th.
Country: USA.
Rating: PG-13.
Written by: Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken.
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg.
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, and John Gallagher Jr.

Yes, this movie is related to Cloverfield, and no, there's no real clear-cut connection between the two films. But there is. At least under the surface, anyway.

Listen, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a great movie that works on a few different levels, which for me, is saying a lot. You see, I was never a big fan of Cloverfield; it was good, but it just didn't blow me way like it did just about everyone else who saw it. This sequel though had me from the start and didn't let go until then end, when I found myself wanting more.

I enjoyed it so much, that I actually want to go back and give Cloverfield another shot.

It's going to be really hard to talk about the plot of this movie without completely ruining its twists and turns, so we're going to keep it as vague as possible.

Cutie pie Michelle is running away from an unsavory relationship (literally, in her car), when she's broadsided by another car, leaving her in a wreck. She wakes up in some creepy room, handcuffed to her bed and hooked up to an IV, where an odd survivalist named Howard tells her that he's brought her to his bunker because the world above has undergone some sort of biological/chemical attack which has rendered the air unbreakable. If they leave the safety of the bunker, they die.

Even though there's another guy (Emmett) down there with them who backs up Howard's story, Michelle is suspicious of the whole thing. As time goes on however, she comes to realize that he's telling the truth; there has been some sort of attack above ground, and going outside might just kill them. She also begins to realize that something is not quite right with Howard, and that she may be in even more danger by staying in the bunker.

Edge-of-your-seat intensity ensues.

10 Cloverfield Lane was an intense little Thriller that told more than one story at once, and it's that duality that made it such a damned good watch. On one hand, there's been some sort of an attack, and being in the bunker is just about the only safe place to be. On the other, the guy who brought Michelle to the bunker comes off as a survivalist nut-job, and you're never really sure if he's a good or bad guy... at least at first.

Both storylines, their progression, and the reveals that they offer, are equally fantastic.

The cast is essentially made up of three people (we don't count Bradley Cooper's voice on a cell phone), and they were all fantastic here. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is not only a total QT, but she's a hell of an actress too, and she does her usual brand of excellent work here. Same goes for John Gallagher Jr., minus the QT part.

The real star of the show though is John Goodman. We've been big fans of his since we first saw him on Roseanne nearly 30 years ago, and he's one of those guys that always knocks it out of the park, whether he's doing comedy or drama. Here, he's genuinely creepy and unsettling as Howard, and he just chews the scenery every time he's on camera.

Is this a true sequel to Cloverfield? Kinda, but it's really more of a movie that takes place in the same world as the first movie than it is a true sequel. An off-shoot, if you will. Do we have a clear understanding of what's going on, both inside and outside of the bunker, by the time the movie ends? Pretty much. Some of the in-bunker stuff is left a bit ambiguous, although it's pretty clear what's going on; and the "attack" above and what caused it are pretty clear-cut.


For posterity's sake, here's my personal take on the movie:

The gist of it is: Michelle is running away from an abusive relationship, and ends up in another one that she really can't escape.

Howard built the bunker for his family, and they left him either because he was crazy, he abused one or both of them, or all of the above. When they did that, he lost it, abducted the other girl, Brittany, and held her in the bunker, because he needed a "replacement" daughter. Not sure how creepy that situation got (although I imagine it was probably really creepy), but it ended with Howard killing the girl. Knowing that the attack was coming, and having ruined his pedo-like relationships with his daughter and the abducted girl, he needed a replacement for her. That turned out to be Michelle. I'm pretty sure that the car that pulls in behind her at the gas station was Howard; he saw her, followed her, and crashed into her, so that he could take her back to his bunker.

In this way, Howard is the true Cloverfield Monster in this movie... even though there are aliens out there killing humanity with their gas and sharp teeth. Because that aspect of the movie wasn't a swerve at all, it was all happening.


Of course I could be off on a few points, but I'm pretty sure that's about right.

Not really, but there are a few disturbing scenes of violence.

Nope. PG-13.

This is how sequels should be done. Also, 10 Cloverfield Lane was a better J.J. Abrams production than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yeah, I said it.

An exciting, absorbing movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane sucked us in from the get-go, kept us at full attention until the end, and then left us wanting more. If you haven't made the trip to a theater near you to check it out, you should really do so. If not, it definitely deserves a look when it hits VOD.

It's definitely one of our favorite movies of the year so far.


10 Cloverfield Lane is in theaters now.

MEW is always a welcomed sight in any movie.


  1. Love MEW ever since "Sky High" and "Final Destination." She's so underrated. Will surely watch this. :)

    1. She really is underrated. Thought she was great in Faults, and even loved her in The Thing prequel.

    2. OMG "The Thing" prequel was really underrated. I thought it fit perfectly the way it had ended. And they didn't just try and copy JC, it had his tone, but it was also its own movie.

  2. She basically sums up her situation, with the best line in the movie(why have you guys stopped with all of that stuff? Anyways...):
    "You have got to be kidding me.... "

    1. You mean why have we stopped using "Best Line?" If so, I try to switch it up between longer and shorter reviews, depending on the movie.

      It really depends on the movie, and what needs to be said about it.

    2. Yeah(BTW, I'm playing catchup today I guess), I meant your 'Best Line' thing you guys used to do. But you also have to realize I'm a new guy here and you have like 350 reviews that I haven't read yet, so to you that best line thing is probably old news, but to me it was funny and cool and something fresh lol

    3. Yeah, I've been trying to use that again. I like it too, it's definitely fun. I'll have to keep getting back to that.

  3. Very tense movie. "This is how sequels should be done." - not sure I agree with this saying since it technically isn't a sequel, but it's an interesting addition to the mythology.

    1. Yeah, it's technically not a sequel, but for the point I was trying to make, using sequel was just the simplest way to get the "expanded Universe" point across.

  4. I agree with your analysis. I really didn't like the original Cloverfield at all, but this one was a fun thriller. I was alone in the theater too when I saw it on St. Patty's Day, lol. I'm curious to know what your feelings are regarding the grand finale, but I don't know what to write about it without spoiling the fun for everyone else.


    1. I'm with you on the spoiler thing, Dan.

      As vaguely as possible... I thought it was handled well. When it hits Blu-ray, we'll check it out again, but on our one and only watch, it was a great "holy Shit" type of sequence.

      The "Houston" part left us wanting answers though :)

  5. I skipped the spoilers and have been able to avoid them as I haven't seen this yet. It's great news hearing you liked it this much! It's top priority for me as soon as I can get to it.

    1. Always skip the spoilers. they're bad! :)

      Hope you dig it s much as we did, Chay.

    2. I think I'm in the minority where I really try to go into a film knowing as little as possible. When I went to see The Witch (which again, I knew very little about - oh - and is my favorite movie of the year so far) there was a trailer for The Conjuring 2 and looked at my wife and closed my eyes through the whole thing. I think from the studies I've heard about that most people actually WANT to know exactly what they are going to see and I'm just the opposite. The less I know, the better and, most importantly, the lower expectations.

    3. Depends on the movie for me, Chay.

      If it's a Thriller, Mystery, or part of a series with an ongong story, I try like hell not to read spoilers, watch trailers, etc...

      I agree with you that going into a movie unnspoiled makes it a better, more organic type of an experience.

    4. I will only watch a trailer for something like a tentpole movie, "Avengers". But anything else, I will avoid it like the plague. I HATE finding out about a movie before I watch it. I will get PISSED if someone were to give something away to me before I see something, even like TWD, my manager at work watches it religiously, but he will always ask"did you watch last nights episode yet?" and if I say no then the most I will get is "well is was a good one".
      I might punch someone is they were to give away something like 'I see dead people' and tell me that B. Willis was dead the whole time, lol.

    5. It's almost liek trailers these days HAVE to show the entire damn movie to get people in theaters. Example: The Purge Anarchy trailer basically shows you where the movie starts, how it unfolds, and exactly where it ends up.

      I hate that.

  6. In the final act when Michelle got out from the bunker while wearing her DIY safety suit and try evading the aliens, it reminds me of Ripley in the first Alien final act while fighting Xenomorph. I don't know. Maybe it's just me...

  7. One of my favorites of the year so far as well. Goodman and Winstead were killer in this.

  8. Can't wait to see this one! Sounds very interesting. Wasn't sure how high it was gonna score on my list of movies I wanted to see so thanks for the review :-)!


    1. It's a pretty solid flick, hope you enjoy!

  9. I'm a big fan of tank tops. Especially if worn by Ms. Winstead.

  10. I'll have to look back to see who was reviewing movies previous years. I guess we are both growing as viewers. I am not agreeing with many of these reviews. 10CL was mediocre at best. Although the spoiler synopsis was about as much as I will agree upon, I don't think many are putting Hollywood to task and letting them get away with producing sub-par products but charging full price. **SPOILERS**10CL was hardly a "horror" with a fairly predictable plot and the only "twist" was the murder or I guess her surviving **END SPOILERS**

    1. First off, 10CL is not a Hollywood movie. It was super low budget. It was sitting on a shelf for a bit, and all the ending was tacked on later.

      I also would like to know what your top movies were recently.

  11. I've definitely grown as a viewer over the years, and I think that's why I liked this one so much.

    Lots of people thought this one was a letdown, and I get that 100%. One of us here at THC hated it. I liked it alot, and tried to be as objective as I could while writing it up.

    Aside from Deadpool, what are your top 5 movies of the year so far? Just curious.

  12. Alright let me do this.
    From the Movies you've reviewed and I've enjoyed over the last TWO years

    Final Girls
    it was fun and nostalgic to a degree because it didn't take it self seriously

    Let Us Prey
    a VERY intriguing but well done for the budget film that still was somewhat suspenseful

    The Editor
    Hilarious while pretending to take itself seriously. And THAT was a film that showed some nice skin

    Bound to Vengance
    I liked the "twist" and seemed to still have a visceral feel whilst not being unrealistic about the limitations of a female protagonist

    I think we can agree on those films. Top 5 films THIS year will be tough since I tanked Hollywood and it's drivel long ago. I have successfully avoided paying them full price at least for many years and I wait for films to go streaming or B-D so I'm "behind" if you will.

    Next up to watch tho
    -Cpt America CW
    -Conjuring 2
    -Star Trek Beyond
    -X-men Apoc

    It'll probably be 2017 by the time I have seen these and can really indulge how I feel about them