[Review] ‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ shows us that monsters come in all different sizes.
Author: Lisha Blackhurst
If there’s one thing Abrams knows how to do, it’s marketing. Keeping the plot of Cloverfield  [the enigmatic so-described “blood relative” of 10 Cloverfield Lane] top secret is what ultimately made the first movie so effective. I was one of the audience who, upon attending the cinema, wasn’t even aware of the genre of the film I was about to observe, so I witnessed first-hand how mystery can heighten the impact of a viewing, and I take this method with me for ALL horror films where I can. After including Cloverfield in my Top 10 Horror Films of all time [http://www.eliteonlinemag.com/2016/03/16/the-little-blog-of-horror-top-10-horror-films-of-all-time/] I’ve spent a lot of time ruthlessly defending my choice – it seems the world is on the fence here between admiration and anger, and everyone has a heated opinion of the franchise. Regardless of whether the prelude was appealing to you, 10 Cloverfield Lane offers up everything the original failed to do; further development and in-depth narrative. What is most important is that it is fantastic as a second film or as a standalone project. Whereas a sequel usually offers far less in the way of a narrative, this little gem turns the conventional onto its “decapitated statue of liberty” head, showing that monsters don’t have to be big to be terrifying.
The 12A rating is surprising, but don’t let it put you off; this is no Harry Potter movie. I would expect that as devoted horror fans you are all remarkably accustomed to dealing with predictable “jump-scares” [yawn] after indulging in thousands of horror movies, and this number refreshingly managed to sneak up on me – twice! Rather than aggressively storming the audience with scares, this delicately spoon feeds tension and apprehension until it erupts in often impulsive moments.
Sadly, I must end this review on a somewhat negative note – very much like the film did. Determined to avoid including any spoilers, I won’t go into great detail here, but the story that had been so expertly woven in the first hour of the film becomes wildly disjointed and disengaging. And this isn’t just a moment of madness; this is an extreme bout of absolute insanity. Whilst the film is beautifully crafted with all the right ingredients and is superbly cast, with the versatile Goodman as its obvious star, something is missing here in the final sequence. The film truly deserved something special, perhaps a mind-blowing ending similar to that of The Mist . There are many plot-holes here with the mystery never ultimately solved or indeed barely even started, and what is left in the closing scene is a mere CGI clogged set-up for the next sequel. Frustratingly so, the film that spent so much time creating an intense narrative to devoid itself of the mindless monster-movie title deserves more than what is offered in its closing sequence. I am left hoping there is no explosive money-fuelled blockbuster-type sequel to ruin the credibility this thriller had begun to create.