Duck and Cover
In a world ravaged by sequels, spin-offs and unnecessary cinematic universes, Bad Robot has delivered the perfect second installment in what is now a blockbuster franchise.
This film bears essentially no similarities to its predecessor. It’s stylistically distinct, features different characters, and takes places hundreds of miles away from the events of Cloverfield. This is, in many ways, an original film wrapped up in franchise packaging, and it’s all the better for it. Much like an episode of Twilight Zone or Amazing Stories, this film tells us a horrifying new tale against a familiar backdrop, and the lack of ties to it’s predecessor make the film all the stronger.
To praise this movie is to praise John Goodman, who’s performance in the film is perfect. His character is complicated, and we learn new things about with each passing moment in the film. This complexity is delivered through his flawless and nuanced performance. It’s easy to write off the actors in horror films here and there, but Goodman’s character is as memorable as it is brilliant.
The same can be said about Winstead, who not only gives a solid performance, but who’s character makes logical decisions throughout the vast majority of the film. It’s refreshing to see a character actually do what makes sense in a situation, rather than do something stupid that will result in a cheap jump scare.
This is a tense film, full to the brim with moral dilemmas, misdirection, and even world building. It’s loose tied to the universe at large augment the film perfectly, and even our prior knowledge of the Cloverfieldverse still makes us question what we are seeing on screen. By tweaking a small scale indie film and turning into a blockbuster sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane gives us the best of both worlds, proving that audiences are receptive to new characters and unique stories. Will this beckon in a new type of sequel the way Deadpool appears to be beckoning in R rated adaptations? On that front, we’ll have to see.
And on a spoiler note, let’s discuss the ending of the film. While it was fun, this was the weakest element of the film. The little Half-Life alien pig was a tense and engaging sequence, but the flying ship attack was the weakest because it was all too familiar. It bared a striking similarity to the finale of War of the Worlds and it felt tonally inconsistent with the rest of the film and, really, with the rest of Cloverfield. The original film featured large angry monsters and bugs, not systematically destructive airships. Sure, this was explained by Goodman’s dissemination of military invasion tactics, but it just felt…off. A perfectly acceptable cliffhanger ending would have been her walking out, realizing the world she knows is gone, and ending the film there.
But if a wonky final fight is the price we pay for the excellent preceding story and a sequel with limitless potential, then we can call this a resounding win.
Alex Russo talks more than Deadpool. You can see for yourself on Twitter.