I have anxiously awaited this film more than probably any of them in the last few months, horror-wise at least. I am a huge fan of John Goodman… he is the best thing that could have happened to Red State, he was great in Flight, and let’s be real, he is like a dad to all of us. I waited though to see what the critics thought (and until it was available to rent on Google Play Movies…) and was so ecstatic to see it was given 90% on Rottentomatoes!
To be fair, you have to kind of go into it NOT expecting it to be related to the 2008 film Cloverfield, because really… it doesn’t. It starts off innocuously enough, introducing us to our main character, Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is fighting with her boyfriend and traveling away from him to… well, it’s never really explained where she was going or why she was leaving. She is playing with her phone while driving (tsk) and ends up getting into a car accident and being knocked unconscious. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a cell somewhere. We are pretty quickly introduced to John Goodman’s character, Howard, who we learn has built a bunker below his farmhouse for protection from fallout of any sort. Then we basically spend the film questioning where we are, what’s going on, and do we trust Howard?
John Goodman is fantastic – he is menacing when he needs to be and yet, he’s warm at times. He’s a very well-rounded character and that’s nice to see. While Michelle is our main character and she is who we are following through the plot, the centre of the film is John Goodman, 100%. In my opinion, Howard is up there with Kathy Bates’ “Annie Wilkes” in Misery (1990). One minute he is sweet and caring and nurturing, and when something triggers his temper, he flies off the handle in a fit of outrage.
This film is really difficult to talk about without spoiling the plot and the major plotpoints, but what I can say is that 10 Cloverfield Lane keeps you on your toes, it keeps you guessing, and it’s atmosphere is dreadful in the best way possible. But despite these amazing points – the first… 5/6ths of the film’s plot, the well-fleshed out characters, the atmosphere – the ending is really a sticking point for me. It is clearly there solely to link the film to the original Cloverfield and it just… doesn’t fit. It would have been a 10/10 had it stuck with it’s original path, had it left you guessing at the end rather than pulling a connection out of its own butt. That being said, I’m still going to buy it for my collection… I will still rewatch it, probably a few times, and it’s definitely in the running for this year’s October horror movie marathon!