March 30, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)



"After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack."

We all know how trendy it is for the jealous never-will-bes to bash J.J. Abrams (or any of the other successful producers/directors such as Michael Bay, Zack Snyder, Alex Proyas, or Neill Blomkamp) with their cowardly passive-aggressive tweets and boring podcasts which nobody but their equally slimy friends listens to, so don't think for a moment that I'm going to pander to any of their kind of audience with my review. This movie was directed by a new addition to the Bad Robot team, Dan Trachtenberg, rather than Abrams himself anyway.

Although it's no secret that I absolutely hated "Cloverfield" (2008) when it came out, and think that "Gwoemul" (2006) is far superior in every way, there were some bits of it I liked. I would have liked those bits even more if "Cloverfield" hadn't been filmed in the motion-sickness inducing faux "found footage" style. Thus, the fact that "10 Cloverfield Lane" (a sequel in not much more than name only, since it started life as a standalone story called "The Cellar") wasn't filmed with shakycams makes it a whole lot better than I expected without having to do anything else.

I used to have a piss bucket this size too.

"10 Cloverfield Lane" is more or less a triple-hander featuring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (from "The Thing" remake), and John Gallagher Jr. (who I've never seen or heard of before). There are a couple of other cast members who appear briefly, and a few voices on the radio, but the bulk of the story is really about the interactions of the aforementioned leads, how they cope with their confinement, their suspicions of each other, and all that kind of thing. There's a hint of romance too, but not much. There's no sex or nudity, barely any "bad language" (oh, so edgy!), and not much of anything scary either. I think you can guess the certification.

As a psychological thriller, "10 Cloverfield Lane" is as full of clich├ęs and formulas as most modern movies. If you haven't seen many movies, you'll probably think it's pretty good, but those of us who are older and have seen just about everything the genre has to offer will find it all very predictable and somewhat irritating. Let's face it, we aren't the target audience for products like this anyway, so it's likely to make us even grumpier than usual.

Despite this, the cast does a great job with what is essentially a ripoff of at least one famous episode of "The Twilight Zone", and John Goodman plays the "evil all along" trope in much the same way as Chuck Connors in "Tourist Trap" (1979). All Howard (John Goodman) needs is a limp, some creepy dolls, and telekinetic powers, and "10 Cloverfield Lane" would almost be the same movie. So yeah, it's really not the same at all, but you'll see what I mean.

It's a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle called "Catfish". That is all.

Once again, there were no cats in this movie. I'm obviously not on the right blog to make a big deal out of that at the moment, but at least Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) and Michelle (Mary Elizabth Winstead) spend some quality screentime putting together a puzzle of a surreal snorkelling cat.

Apart from bonding the two younger characters, does the puzzle have any significance other than being a puzzle? Who knows? I'm sure there are a few theories floating around the nerd sites, but I couldn't care less about any of them. Looking for subtext in a throwaway movie like this (or any movie for that matter) is absolutely pointless unless you are one of those stooges on the "big name" sites (and in magazines) who are desperate to publish absolutely anything to vainly stay relevant, spoil other people's hobbies, and get money out of their sheep.

For that reason, I don't really have anything else to say about "10 Cloverfield Lane" except that it's better than the first "Cloverfield", it's not "groundbreaking", and it certainly isn't very original. It's entertaining, the production values are way above average, and John Goodman is awesome, and you can read what you like into what I haven't written about or said in this sentence.

Clever graphics, but the bunker isn't really that far underground.

Minor Spoiler
Do we really need yet another "final girl" trope? Puh-lease! Just fuck off with this trendy "progressive" shit. We get it! Women, just like all human beings, can do stuff. Now all the SJWs can clap their manginas with glee. Oh yay, she's a "strong woman". You go, girl! Bahahahaha! Jannicke in "Cold Prey" (2006) is still much better than all of them. And Sarah Connor is pretty fantastic too. Well, when she was played by Lena Headey anyway.
End of Spoiler

I suppose, given the fact that there's nothing any better to watch right now, I have to concede that I enjoyed "10 Cloverfield Lane" more than I thought I would or ever should. There's no lag, the story plays out quite nicely until the extremely annoying ending, and it's not quite as shit as most American or Canadian movies.

If you're looking for a psychological thriller rather than a pure horror or sci-fi movie, "10 Cloverfield Lane" is okay. Just don't expect it to be as great as something like "How I Ended This Summer" (2010) though.

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