10 Cloverfield Lane: Wow!
Well, that’s not a very descriptive review, is it, but this is a film where it’s best to know the bare minimum before you start to watch it, so feel free to skip the rest of this, knowing that it’s a very well-paced and competent thriller that doesn’t last too long, nor is it too short. Like the third pudding in The Three Bears fairytale, it’s just right.
The makers of this film managed to put together a superb non-spoiler trailer set to the original version of “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James & The Shondells, although if you’re still reading this then I’ll give the most basic of premises that while talking to her boyfriend on the phone, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead – A Good Day To Die Hard, and yes, she is in the theatrical version) is involved in a horrendous car accident, which begins a bizarre mystery as she wakes up in a cellar with, as you’d expect, no signal on her mobile.
A gruff redneck called Howard (John Goodman – Inside Llewyn Davis) talks about how he saved her life, and how she’s lucky to be there, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it, even though he claims that there’s been a chemical or nuclear attack outside and that she’s safer with him and a young man called Emmett (John Gallagher Jr). But can she believe and trust a man she’s never met before until she woke up in what is effectively a nuclear bunker, while chained to a pipe?
I know if I was in that situation, I’d be assuming he was – to quote the great Dame Denise of Outen – “mental, mental, chicken oriental”, but in the words of the worst effluent to come out of tawdry online rags like Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post, ‘what happens next wil shock and surprise you!’
And it did, for reasons I can’t divulge because you have to watch it to see how things pan out in this three-hander.
To use the terms ‘tension at every turn’, ‘gripping’ and ‘edge-of-the-seat’ – all those typical cliches are bang on the money and come to fruition in this one film, which you’ll be thinking about for a long time afterwards.
Also, it’s incredible that this is only Dan Trachtenberg‘s first feature-length movie. He also made a great short film based around the videogame Portal, which you can see towards the bottom of this review.
Now, I have some questions after viewing it, which I’ll wrap around with a spoilers tag…
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 ratio and in anamorphic widescreen. As is typical with a DVD, since I’m used to Blu-rays, it looks softer by comparison, but if you’re always watching DVDs, then it looks perfectly fine. Like I alighted to, there’s suspense in spades, and that won’t diminish on this format.
The sound is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, and while it’s not a special effects film, it’s aides the tension brilliantly.
The extras are thin on the ground and, oddly, par down what’s on offer of the Blu-ray, and neither include the aforementioned trailer:
- Featurettes (15:31): Firstly, DO NOT WATCH THIS BEFORE YOU SEE THE MOVIE.
The three making up this piece are Cloverfield Too, Bunker Mentality and End of Story, while the Blu-ray also includes four others (Duck and Cover, Spin-Off, Kelvin Optical and Fine Tuned), which (after doing a bit of maths from what I’ve found online) takes the total time up to 34:42.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
- Audio commentary: from director Dan Trachternberg and producer JJ Abrams.
Subtitles are in English for the hearing impaired, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish, chapters are a slightly-better-than-average 16 and the menu is a static image of the house, similar to that on the cover, with a short piece of composer Bear McCreary’s track, Michelle.
Running time: 104 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Video
Released: July 25th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English, English Audio Description
Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: DVD9
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Producers: JJ Abrams amd Lindsey Weber
Screenplay: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle
Music: Bear McCreary
Howard: John Goodman
Michelle: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Emmett: John Gallagher Jr
Driver: Douglas M Griffin
Woman: Suzanne Cryer
Ben: Bradley Cooper (voice)
Voice on Radio: Sumalee Montano
Radio Broadcaster: Frank Mottek
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.