So, recently the best bitch and me decided to have another cheeky cinema date. The film we went to see was 10 CLOVERFIELD Lane, but as neither of us had seen the first film, we decided to make a day of it at hers. Here I’ve done a double-feature review – don’t say I never do anything for you…
Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) is leaving New York to go and live in Japan, so the natural response of his friends is to throw him a leaving party. Everyone starts off by having a grand old time but as the evening progresses, violent shakes take hold of the building. The explosions that follow announce the arrival of an unknown creature which begins its rampage by launching the head of the Statue of Liberty into the streets. Rob and his friends venture deep into the streets of New York in the hope of finding his true love who is trapped in her destroyed apartment in the middle of town.
Following our decision to see 10 CLOVERFIELD Lane, we both thought it would be a fairly sensible idea to watch CLOVERFIELD first, especially considering not one of us had watched it before. I’ll be completely honest, the found-footage horror/thriller didn’t give me much hope for the sequel in the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen worse films, but believe me, I’ve seen a hell of a lot better as well.
I’m slightly lost for words as for how I’m supposed to evaluate the performances. For the majority of the film it was mainly just a group of people who were ever so slightly intoxicated coming up with bad ideas of where to run next and then screaming a lot when that idea fell through (surprisingly enough). They all captured the fear of the event very well, but the lack of variation became quite tiresome eventually. Plus, can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that you wouldn’t go running into the middle of town in order to find the ex-love of your life at a time when a giant monster is taking over the city.
Whilst we’re looking at the slightly less positive aspects of the film, I’ll get my moan about the found-footage style of filming out of the way. Please, someone tell me why that ever even became a thing. It is completely disorientating and when mixed with the shots taken underground and everyone moving at pace, you find yourself moving your head around like an owl doing a mating dance trying to see where everyone went. Some people probably like the immersive experience it gives you – I just look like an eejit.
In a way, CLOVERFIELD was quite funny, although not intentionally funny. My friend and myself found ourselves barking orders at the TV and then groaning with frustration when the characters didn’t do what they were told. On the bright side though, we both found out that we have quite a good chance of surviving should we ever be presented with a similar situation ourselves – trust me, Bear Grylls has nothing on us provided we have a crowbar and matches.
Overall, CLOVERFIELD, whilst watchable, is not going to be the best film you’ll ever see and you probably won’t be in any hurry to watch it for a second time. However, it does set the scene nicely for 10 CLOVERFIELD Lane, which is coming up next.
10 CLOVERFIELD Lane –
After leaving her fiancé, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is involved in a road traffic collision. She later comes round to find herself sharing an underground bunker with Howard (John Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who both claim that there has been some sort of nuclear or chemical incident. However, Michelle has a sneaking suspicion that she hasn’t been saved from an apocalyptic event, and that that whole back story is just cover for her being held prisoner.
Despite not being all that impressed by CLOVERFIELD, we still stuck to the plan and went on to see 10 CLOVERFIELD Lane in the afternoon. I am so glad we were not deterred. It was brilliant! The plot was beyond unpredictable and the performances were amazing – the film was just a thrill-ride from start to finish.
Now, before I start, can I just ask that we take a moment to fully appreciate the tremendous actor that John Goodman is. I’ve seen him in a number of things, but this has to have been his best performance that I’ve witnessed. What he put out as Howard was a far cry from what audiences normally expect from him, and this is partly why I was so blown away by him here. He made you feel uneasy just by watching him, which is another thing I loved about him and his character. Goodman was fully believable as Howard and he had me on edge the entire he was on screen.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was the heroine we were all so happy to see. Michelle was your usual unlikely saviour who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and so right from the start you only wanted to see the best outcome for her. My honest opinion is that it’s great to see more and more strong female leads coming out of the woodwork as it might hopefully do something in the way of reducing the level of gender inequality in Hollywood that seems to be worse now than ever. I thoroughly enjoyed Winstead’s performance as Michelle and thought she was the best match for Goodman’s oddball Howard.
The key thing about 10 CLOVERFIELD Lane was how unpredictable the story was. I am being 100% honest with you when I say that I couldn’t once tell you what was going to happen next for any amount of money in the world. I mean, it never really boded well for any food in my lap after I jumped about five minutes into the film, did it? There is still also an element of mystery surrounding the film for me as well. The story branched off into a number of different things and so the levels of intrigue sky-rocketed as the film went on, and even now I’m still asking myself questions about it all.
On the whole, 10 CLOVERFIELD Lane was an exceedingly good film that will have you gripped from start to finish. It’s a low-budget, far superior sequel that is so wonderful because you wouldn’t even have to sit through CLOVERFIELD in order to enjoy it fully. The writers have left it open to a follow up as well, so it stands a good chance this isn’t the last we’ll ever hear of the CLOVERFIELD saga.