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10 Cloverfield Lane [Blu-ray]
DVD + Digital HD with Ultravio
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After surviving a car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker with two men. Howard (John Goodman) tells her that a massive chemical attack has rendered the air unbreathable, and their only hope of survival is to remain inside. Despite the comforts of home, Howard's controlling and menacing nature makes Michelle want to escape. After taking matters into her own hands, the young woman finally discovers the truth about the outside world.
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Top Customer Reviews
But this isn't Cloverfield! Not the first one, anyway. 10 Cloverfield Lane's directing and camera-work is much more steady and deliberate here (not that the original wasn't deliberate in what it accomplished, too). The characters are much more complex and deep, as well, because the plot is completely molded and propelled forward by their thoughts, fears, wants, and needs. Unlike the original, which showed a group of ordinary people being thrown into a catastrophic event much bigger than themselves and moving through New York under the constant threat of death, the characters of 10 Cloverfield Lane would be stuck together for a long time, relatively safe from danger. Instead of a giant monster, their greatest conflict would be learning how to live with each other. However, the biggest disconnect from the original film is that 10 Cloverfield Lane IS NOT a direct sequel! 10 Cloverfield Lane has officially cemented this as an anthology series. (As of right now, J.J. Abrams claims that these films do not share the same universe or timeline, but his pitch for a potential third film, as well as certain parallels between both films, suggest that this may be a ruse. Only time will tell...)
For those of you who disliked the first film, I'm sure that you're more intrigued now, to which I would like to say: thanks for stickin' out the rest of this review. For those of you jumpin' outta your pants in anticipation of seeing Clover again: PLEASE, DON'T TOUCH THAT "BACK" BUTTON!!! Just give me a minute to let me tell you what a die-hard fan thinks of this new direction before you make your final judgment.
10 Cloverfield Lane is very different from the original, it's true, but it's also a lot more similar than you may think. The film originated as a low-budget script called "The Cellar". As the final draft of the script was being written, Abrams noticed that the tone of the film--the setting, humor, horror, etc.--fit nicely with the themes of the first film. Abrams had found the answer to his Cloverfield 2 dilemma! I went into this movie expecting to see the return of Clover, the monster, and when the credits began to roll and she was nowhere to be found, I thought that I would be disappointed... but I wasn't. I was satisfied. More than satisfied. I was ecstatic! The story was different, more isolated and compact, but the SOUL was familiar. While I love the original's plot, too, I realized that the soul was what I was most in love with. As an artistic individual, I highly value new and fresh ideas, so even though I was expecting a continuation of the first, what I got surprised me--not just in its quality and psychological depth, but in that it gave me exactly what I wanted out of the experience without me realizing it until well after the screen had faded to black!
I'm sure many people, especially fans of the original, were disappointed to hear about such a major departure in style, but I implore you to give this film a chance! The differences it has are actually its strengths! Having steady, solid camera-work helps us to focus on subtle story cues through expressions on characters' faces. Every shot and scene not only move the story forward significantly, but they also visually establish random objects or details that the viewer may naturally gloss over until they become central to the plot. The focus on character psychology and the tight, contained nature of the story that only affects these three characters makes the atmosphere deliciously tense and scary, demonstrating that taking shelter from an outside threat may not always be the safest course of action. It plays with Michelle, the main character, as well as the audience by deliberately revealing new information in bits over the course of the film that ask two very big questions: "Did something really happen outside the bunker?" and "Did Howard, the man who shelters Michelle and Emmett, really save them?" All of these twists and turns, which are smartly written and beautifully executed, make this film worthy of holding the Cloverfield name, and sets the stage for a potential anthology series--something that I haven't seen done very often with movies.
The actors in this film KILL IT, too. Each one of these guys fill their roles dynamically: Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the anxious, scared, yet instinctively strong young woman; Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), the sweet, funny, yet socially awkward small-town man who just wants to make the best of the end of the world, and Howard (John Goodman), the single-minded survivalist who can be quite endearing, but become menacing and authoritative just as fast. All of them are great, especially Goodman. While Winstead and Gallagher's characters have consistency, Goodman is tasked with playing an emotionally unstable character that can be subtly creepy, endearing, or fly off the handle at the tiniest thing. His acting is truly something special to behold, and all of them do a fantastic job at embodying whatever the tone of the film calls for at any given time.
I wish that my review didn't turn out as convoluted as it is, but hopefully it made some sense and convinced at least some skeptics that it's worth picking up. Buying the Blu-ray version is always best in my book as well, because it comes with three different formats in one package, as well as more special features. I wish that the special features lasted longer than 30 minutes, but it's common for special features to only last a total of 30-60 minutes, I suppose... Anyway, I definitely recommend picking up this gem of a film!
The characters are well cast, and the movie is adept at making you periodically guess who the established protagonist and antagonist really is (Are they evil? Or good? Or both?) with no predictable ending, which is difficult to achieve in this day and age. John Goodman was great to see back on the big screen, and threw in splashes of dark humor that helped provide the movie with some levity.
A good choice for date night, movie night, or even a permanent addition to a collection.
Mary Elisabeth Winstead is great as a woman who does not give up even when what she faces is seemingly beyond her. Tightly paced suspense/thriller that I recommend ro anyone who enjoys movies that aren't the same formulaic stories we see every year at the theatre.