Monday, March 14, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (AA. Dowd) review  

10 Cloverfield Lane [2016] (directed by Dan Trachtenberg, story and screenplay cowritten by Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken along with Damien Chazelle) is a suspenseful and thoroughly  minimalist (in its own way) offshoot to the wildly successful "found footage" b-scifi/horror film Cloverfield [2008] though the connection with the first film appears to have been solely that the two films' stories play out concurrently though in widely different parts of the country: the original film plays-out in New York City while the current film plays-out simply "somewhere in Louisiana."

This current film begins with a twenty-something young woman, we later find-out her name's Michelle (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), packing a suitcase with some of her things from her and her soon-to-be ex's apartment, throwing it into her car and leaving.

We catch her next driving in her car on some country road somewhere and it's getting dark.  She notices a message on her iPhone, begins listening to it -- it's her boyfriend pleading that she come home, to give them a chance to "work" (whatever it it is) "out -- there's some reference on the radio to "power black-outs" occurring along the Eastern Seaboard, and BANG ... SOMETHING JUST SMASHES INTO THE SIDE OF HER CAR, hurling it off the road, AND ... the opening credits _begin_ to roll ... ;-) ;-)

She wakes up, with an IV in her arm, and ... quite impressively thick CHAIN AROUND HER THIGH in some BUNKER somewhere.  We soon find out that this bunker was built by some ex-Navy man, since survivalist nutjob, named Howard (played absolutely wonderfully, cards ever, ever, ever close to the vest, by John Goodman) who informs her that "outside" there was "an attack" by "maybe the Russians, maybe Extraterrestrials ..." but in any case, the air's contaminated and they are going to be "stuck" for ... oh, maybe A YEAR OR TWO ... in said bunker until the air clears up and/or HE figures-out what to do (next).  In any case though, FORTUNATELY he's "made provision" for EXACTLY THIS KIND OF SCENARIO, with FOOD FOR TWO (maybe three) for EXACTLY "ONE or TWO YEARS."

Wow ... how creepy ... and the bulk of the rest of the film involves her and a third person --an "Emmett" (played by John Gallagher, Jr), a "local" twenty-something "contractor" who had helped Howard build this bunker on Howard's farm somewhere in (presumably) Louisiana and who apparently ran straight for the bunker when "whatever happened outside" began "happening" -- trying to figure-out JUST HOW CRAZY "Howard" was.   

It was clear that Howard did not want any of them to go outside, for ... apparently "the duration" of whatever "event" was taking place.  But Michelle NEVER SAW said "event" playing-out, outside.  And all SHE gets is tantalizing, if admittedly frightening indications that SOMETHING AWFUL really did take place, the strongest of which being a woman who seemed to have chemical burns on her skin, and coming to said bunker begs to come in. 

Okay, Howard, wasn't completely nuts, _something_ quite awful really did happen outside, but he clearly wasn't _sane_ either.

What would YOU do if YOU found yourself in this "Room [2015]"-like circumstance (with PERHAPS "Aleins" or "something ELSE that was AWFUL" outside)?

The rest of the story ensues ... ;-)

It's a crazy, improbable, claustrophobic story and clearly "not for everybody" but IMHO it works in a paranoid "what would you do?" sort of way.  At least TBTG this "sequel of sorts" has chosen to take a different path to tell its story _without_ resorting to the tired "lost footage" of the original.

Good job ;-).

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