10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Although Goodman & Mary try their hardest with this painfully uninspired script, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a somnambulistic test of patience with seemingly no clue it bears the name of a monster franchise-fans waited 8+ years for answers to. 4/10.

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.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review: A somnambulistic test of patience with seemingly no clue it bears the name of a monster franchise fans waited 8 years to return, I am actually speechless at what I just saw in 10 Cloverfield Lane. And not in a good way. Matt Reeves’ intensely original 2008 Cloverfield film was one of the freshest horror/kaiju found-footage action/thrillers, like Blair Witch meets Godzilla being something never quite seen before in any of the genres or combination. Despite all these skilled genre-blending and theme juggling, however, it was most successful as a film because it had a clear vision of its apocalyptic central monster/alien DNA and stuck to it, something this sequel goes arguably the complete opposite in confusingly directed to shoddy results. What seemed like a sure-fire mega franchise just teeming with life and potential quietly fizzled after its first movie, fading into oblivion in plans for a sequel until 10 Cloverfield Lane was announced. With optimal hype and interest in getting a sequel of any kind we thought for years was never going to happen, it’s truly a wonder how they could get it so wrong. From the very first scene, it feels absolutely *nothing* like a Cloverfield movie, or monster/horror/thriller/alien/apocalyptic/any combination of them movie at all. It is dare-I-say light in tone and so UNBELIEVABLY boring and slow, I had to double-take in parts checking if I was in the right movie or if I was being pranked – and had to coax myself into not leaving in disgust multiple times. How dare they make us wait so long in a franchise with hundreds of unanswered questions and dangling threads from the first movie – biggest of all: WHAT ARE THE ALIENS, where did they come from, why are they here?, etc. this sequel answers not even ONE of (that’s right: a sequel that doesn’t further the franchise or define the idea more in *any* way whatsoever), a spectacular failure no matter how you possibly slice it. Goodman and Winstead deserve some absolving from the blame since they do their damndest acting their hearts out playing cat-and-mouse with the admitted dog turd of a script they’re given (that might’ve been close to passable had it not called itself a Cloverfield film, and was more balanced and less choppy alternating between survival film, mystery, and ending sci-fi/horror explorer it felt most comfortable in) ill-advisedly trapping the action in a bunker underground away from the only thing we came to see and get answers for entirely: the monsters, until a bogus small tease in the last 5 minutes even more insulting feeling like an after-thought or last-minute attempt to salvage and force fans to come for another sequel to get the plot-furthering they came for this time. Overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a massively disappointing undertaking that adds literally no definition or furthering to the plot or idea of its franchise name whatsoever, trapping the film underground in a tiresome bunker setting, ending almost exactly where it started with Winstead in the car, and requiring serious forgiveness by franchise fans understandably expecting to see the original’s monster/story after 8 YEARS of waiting.

Overall Rating: 4/10