‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ is a Dull Detour to a Dead End

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Average: 5 (1 vote)
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – With “10 Cloverfield Lane,” Producer J.J. Abrams attempts a classic bait and switch on his audience. The name and the tagline suggest a connection to Abrams found footage monster movie, 2008’s “Cloverfield.” But in all honesty, this film has very little to do with the events of that movie.

It’s actually an old low budget thriller that’s been hastily repackaged and shrouded in secrecy as a marketing ploy. Because if you called this movie “2 Guys, a Girl and a Bomb Shelter” very few people would actually go see it.

John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in ’10 Cloverfield Lane’
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

The film is more mystery than special effects extravaganza as the audience and the characters try to decipher what exactly is true and what isn’t. After a car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up chained to a wall in a bomb shelter – containing Howard (John Goodman) and a slightly dopey handyman named Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.). Howard pulled Michelle from the wreck, and brought her to his bunker. She’s told there’s been an apocalyptic attack and the world outside the bomb shelter has been destroyed and made uninhabitable, but she quite understandably has her doubts.

Howard says he just wants appreciation and gratitude, as he cooks and provides for the three of them. But from there it’s up to us and the audience to decide whether Goodman’s grizzled Navy veteran is telling the truth, is completely crazy, or a weird confusing mixture of the two.

At times this claustrophobic thriller resembles a dopier version of the Oscar-nominated drama “Room,” with a little sci-fi window dressing. Goodman remains a hulking and charismatic image on screen, but the feature as a whole felt uninspired – and I’m not going to go into the plot holes you could fly a star destroyer through.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. Make Themselves at Home in ’10 Cloverfield Lane’
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

I didn’t know what to expect coming into the theater, since I avoid almost all the trailers, but I don’t feel like I got something that was worth my time. If I paid a dollar for this at Redbox, I’d still feel it wasn’t quite worth the hassle of having to return it.

This is a rainy day thriller that you can easily wait to randomly pop up on cable and then let it fade off into obscurity. Despite it’s brand name, this thriller doesn’t really deliver the goods.

”10 Cloverfield Lane” opens everywhere on March 11th. Featuring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr.. Screenplay by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2016 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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