Saturday, 19 March 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

In 2008 J.J. Abrams released a film called "Cloverfield", a found footage film about a handful of New York residents surviving a giant monster attack. If you could get past the shaky-camera potentially giving you motion-sickness, and the fact that digital video cameras don't work the way the do in the film, it was very enjoyable. I personally really liked it.
At the end of the film two particular things happened:
  1. The US military drop a nuclear bomb on the monster, but audio at during the credits indicate that the monster survived the assault. (Though Abrams says it didn't... ffs.)
  2. A scene from Cony Island before the monster attack show something falling from the sky into the ocean. From the ARG and the spin-off manga, we know that this was a satellite that woke up the sleeping sea monster in the first place.
Now, 8 years later, we get another film - "10 Cloverfield Lane". That wasn't always the film's name. The initial script was called "The Cellar", and then once Abrams got involved it was called "Valencia" as an alleged smoke-screen.

The thing is, it really shows. By having the word "Cloverfield" in the title, it makes a heavy implication as to the content - that it would be related to Cloverfield in some way, perhaps as a sequel.

Spoilers begin.

The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona Flowers) as Michelle, who while driving along the road, running away from her now ex-fiancée, gets run off of the road. Moments earlier the radio talked about power outages on the southern-seaboard (for those who were confused, like me, that probably indicates the south-eastern area of the US) which does not include New York, but I suppose the EMP from a nuclear bomb could potentially cause effects like that. Or a giant monster attacking power stations?

Anyway, Michelle then wakes up in a survivalist shelter owned by Howard (John Goodman). Goodman is amazingly creepy and psychotic throughout this film. He is nothing short of fantastic.

The other resident of the shelter is Emmett (John Gallagher Jr) who is decent enough, and describes seeing a flash of light on the horizon unlike anything he's ever seen before (hmmm... nuclear bomb exploding on a rampaging monster?)

The majority of the film takes place in the shelter, with Goodman claiming that there is some kind of attack going on outside, that the air is contaminated, and he himself having terrifying mood-swings. It's brilliant, though there was room for improvement (his obsession with thinking of Michelle as a surrogate daughter indicates some massive trauma that doesn't get developed, but also a really creepy sexual edge that also doesn't get used. He could have also spied on Emmett and Michelle by listening through the air-ducts, but did not.)

In addition to that Michelle has to wear his young daughter's clothes, which (as my friend pointed out) seem really baggy on the 5'8" 31 year old woman. That just doesn't seem right.

Without spoiling too much of the film, for the longest time in this creepy kind-of horror film, it seems that the events going on outside could be explained by the existence of Cloverfield, and the film seems like a really good sequel, a solid 8/10

Spoilers lessen

Then Michelle gets out of the shelter, and everything goes to shit.
By that I don't mean things escalate (though they do), I mean that the film becomes awful, and it becomes evident that this film has absolutely nothing to do with Cloverfield at all.
The ending is just absolutely terrible.

Summary

Unfortunately this film is good for the first three acts, but just goes completely insane in the fourth.
What, four acts? Why yes, because it's like two completely different films mashed together.
The majority of the film is a solid 8/10, but unfortunately the unbelievably awful ending drags the entire film into 5/10 territory.

If you do decide to watch this film, walk out the moment the main character does, and don't expect it to have anything to do with Cloverfield.

Calling it "10 Cloverfield Lane" is nothing but a cheap ploy to get you to see it in the hopes that it's related.
The only way this is related is if this is meant to be a franchise of unrelated anthology films.