10 Cloverfield Lane is a film that has managed to build itself on what feels like an endless amount of tension and suspense. With the cast completely investing themselves into each character, each performance manages to stand out from the others. However, its vagueness may turn off some viewers. Director Dan Trachtenberg, who seems to have only worked on smaller films, made an excellent transition into larger features.
The original film Cloverfield was released in 2008 and similar to 10 Cloverfield Lane, both films went with a really vague approach to both how they advertise and present the story. This is a major contributing factor in how viewers perceive the movie. I often felt extremely claustrophobic in the films main setting due to most of the shots being done within close proximity to each other, leaving you in place of vulnerability for long periods of time.
Outside of the mystery of the overall story, the cast is very compatible with each other. An exceptional performance was given by John Goodman (O’ Brother Where Out Thou) as Howard taking the reigns. At times I found him infuriating as an egomaniac, but at other times I felt empathetic towards him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) is at her best playing Michelle, a perfect blend of fragility and strong will. These traits are aided by John Gallagher Jr (Short Room 12) playing Emmett, who often lowers viewers’ guard with humor to set things up for next round of tension to be endured.
The films sound design is excellent. Its original score does a phenomenal job of reinforcing your fear. Score is definitely a major factor in how we perceive the tone of the entire movie and it almost acts as it’s own character. Outside of the original tracks, the music department made excellent choices, including extremely unsettling music with tracks like “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James and The Shondells.
Overall, I have very few issues with the movie. My only major concern may also be 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s biggest strength: the vagueness, which can at times be disorienting. I felt more confused throughout the film because I had seen Cloverfield, which left me with an expectation of how events would occur in this film. Although these changes caught me off guard, I still found the movie very enjoyable. I recommend this film to horror and sci-fi fans alike; that being said, it’s nearly impossible to compare this experience to something else. It’s unique, and I encourage viewers to experience it for themselves.