Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD June 14, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
After a catastrophic car crash, a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) wakes up in a survivalist’s (John Goodman, Argo) underground bunker. He claims to have saved her from an apocalyptic attack that has left the outside world uninhabitable. His theories are supported by a mysterious stranger who is in the bunker with them (John Gallagher, Jr., “The Newsroom”), but as his increasingly suspicious actions lead her to question his motives, she’ll have to escape in order to discover the truth.
’10 Cloverfield Lane’ follows Michelle (Winstead) upon leaving her home and her boyfriend in order to make an attempt at starting over. Following a quick stop for gas, she is unexpectedly hit by another car and after coming to discovers she has been chained to the wall via a makeshift knee brace in an underground bunker, seemingly having been taken prisoner. Shortly thereafter she meets her potential captor, a conspiracy theorist named Howard (Goodman) who claims to have saved her life by taking her prisoner after a supposed attack which may have left the air above poisonous and unlivable. Naturally hesitant to believe his outrageous claims, she begins to slowly alter her opinion as glimpses into the outside world seem to backup Howard’s theory, as does the other occupant of the bunker, a young man who claims to have fought his way inside after seeing what was on the horizon. Now the only question is whether she is truly safe inside the bunker and as things become increasingly tense within, she must question which danger is greater, the one inside or out.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg from a script by Damien Chazelle (Grand Piano) along with Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken (the film marking the feature length writing debut for Campbell and Stuecken), Trachtenberg does an outstanding job at the helm capturing the intensity and intricacy with a notable professionalism, especially when taking into account that the film also marks Trachtenberg’s directorial debut. ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ additionally owes its share of credit to the three individuals who comprise the primary cast including John Goodman (The Big Lebowski), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and John Gallagher Jr. (TV’s The Newsroom), who each deliver fantastic performances in each of their respective roles, without which the film couldn’t have possibly worked as well as it did.
’10 Cloverfield Lane’ is a refreshingly original thriller that serves as a perfect “blood relative to Cloverfield” (as I believe Abrahms initially described the film). Primarily a tense and uncomfortable claustrophobic thriller that maintains a perfectly fitting sense of dread and unease that will leave viewers enthralled until the wild climax (something I won’t discuss any further in order to avoid potential spoilers). Guided with a truly impressive touch by first time director Dan Trachtenberg who delivers a remarkable directorial debut that is only further complimented by the talented folks who comprise the miniscule cast, with John Goodman stealing the show with his terrifying performance, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ is a phenomenal thriller that not only has its touches relating to the original ‘Cloverfield’, but is largely its own film, and a remarkable one at that. Any fan of well constructed thrillers as well as the original ‘Cloverfield’ film will absolutely want to be sure to check this one out as soon as you have the opportunity to do so.
Overall, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ is a wonderful claustrophobic thriller that delivers a consistently tense and uncomfortable ride that is a perfect relative of the original ‘Cloverfield’ film in many ways, while primarily its own truly fantastic and riveting creation. Directed with fantastic care by first time director Dan Trachtenberg and boosted by fantastic performances from the three key cast members, I would highly recommend ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ to any fan of the original ‘Cloverfield’ film as well as to anyone who appreciates a fantastic thriller in general, you definitely won’t want to miss out on this one.
The Blu-ray release of ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent, providing a sharp, detailed and gorgeous video presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and occasional fast moving sequences, while never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is superb, delivering a consistently crisp, clean and hard hitting soundtrack. Constantly utilizing all seven available channels whether to hit with aggressive force during a number of moments, or to calmly amplify the intensity with the continuous slight hum of the generator and air system which contributes beautifully to the tense nature, and never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a sensational Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack that contributes tremendously to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ includes some worthwhile extras. Included on the release is an Audio Commentary with Director Dan Trachtenberg and Producer J.J. Abrahms’, in addition to a number of Behind the Scenes Featurettes exploring different aspects of bringing the film to life and including behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew. The included Featurettes are: ‘Cloverfield Too’ (running approximately 9 minutes in length), ‘Bunker Mentality’ (running approximately 4 minutes), ‘Duck and Cover’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘Spin-Off’ (4 minutes), ‘Kelvin Optical’ (6 minutes), ‘Fine Tuned’ (7 minutes), and ‘End of Story’ (3 minutes).